Media Releases


September 05, 2018

The Deputy Labor Leader, Tanya Plibersek, announced today that Central Coast locals would benefit from a Shorten Labor Government plan to invest an extra $174 million to help ensure more Australians get the chance to study at uni. 

Ms Plibersek said the commitment will go towards mentoring, support, and other specialised programs designed to boost opportunities for uni study in communities where graduation rates are low.  

“Labor believes it should be your ability, not your bank balance that determines whether you get the chance to study at uni,” Ms Plibersek said.
The Member for Dobell, Emma McBride, said there are bright, talented students in every part of Australia, but opportunities for uni study are uneven.
“Currently, a young person from the Central Coast is about three times less likely to get a uni degree than someone on Sydney’s North Shore*,” Ms McBride said.

“Labor wants to change that.
“We want to support students who are first in their family to go to uni.  We want our unis to attract more students from the regions and the country, more Indigenous students, and more students with a disability.

“Unis must actively recruit and support these students,” Ms McBride said. 
Labor’s candidate for Robertson, Anne Charlton, said there was already some terrific work happening - for example a program at the University of Newcastle that helps students who’ve been in foster or residential care get into uni.

“A Shorten Labor Government wants to see more programs like these,” Ms Charlton said.

“Our funding will also encourage unis to collaborate with TAFEs and not-for-profit and community organisations, in areas including mentoring and outreach.

“This $174 million investment comes on top of Labor’s commitment to abolish Scott Morrison’s unfair cap on uni places. Abolishing the cap will see the number of Central Coast locals getting a uni education jump by more than 2,200.

“Nine in ten jobs created in the coming years will need a uni or TAFE qualification,” Ms Charlton said. 

Senator Deborah O’Neill said Labor wants the Central Coast to have a strong economy, and secure, decently paid jobs.  

“That’s why, unlike the Liberals, we will make investment in education a top priority,” said Senator O’Neill. 

“The Liberals have cut around $70 million from local unis in recent years.

“Scott Morrison says he can’t find the money to properly fund unis, but he can find billions to give away to the top end of town. His priorities are all wrong.
“You can’t trust Scott Morrison with education, or your future,” Senator O’Neill said.
* Proportion of persons aged 25 to 34 years with a bachelor degree on the Central Coast is 21.2% while on Sydney’s North Shore it’s 63.1%.
Labor uncapped student places back in 2009, which by 2016 had seen an extra 220,000 students get the opportunity of a uni education.  Many of these students were the first in their family to attend uni.

When last in government, Labor also invested hundreds of millions of dollars to boost opportunity for uni study in communities where graduation rates were low.  
And it was starting to work.

Because of Labor’s policies by 2016:

  • the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds was up by 55 per cent;
  • Indigenous student numbers had jumped by 89 per cent;
  • enrolments by students with a disability had more than doubled; and
  • enrolments by students from country areas had grown by 48 per cent.

Scott Morrison and the Liberals put all this progress at risk when late last year they cut $2.2 billion from unis by introducing an unfair cap on student places.  

These terrible policies will see hundreds of thousands of Australians miss out on a uni place.