The Australian Government initiated the Australian Universities Accord over 2022–23 to investigate opportunities for improving the higher education system in Australia.

The Accord panel is considering broad topics including:

  • improving the tertiary education rates for First Nations Peoples
  • dismantling the ineffective and detrimental parts of the Jobs Ready Graduates Package (in particular the 50% completion rule that was introduced by the former Liberal government)
  • increasing the PhD stipend rate for PhD students
  • increasing the participation rates for disabled students/students with disability
  • financially supporting students on placement and Work Integrated Learning.

SUPRA provided an initial submission to the Universities Accord in April 2023 and we have submitted a response to the Interim Report on 1 September 2023.

In our response to the Interim Report we:

  • Supported demand-driven funding being extended to all First Nations students enrolling in university, but also argued that the education system needs radical reform to ensure First Nations students are supported across their education journey – from pre-school to university. This reform should be led by First Nations Peoples.
  • Rejected the international student levy, arguing that international students are already under huge financial pressure. Australia needs to be embracing international students, beyond their financial contributions to the Australian economy, as students who chose to live, study and work in Australia.
  • Pushed for SSAF funding to be controlled and shaped by student-led organisations, who, as representatives of the student body, have fundamental insight into the needs of students.
  • Argued for more Commonwealth supported places (CSPs) for more postgraduate students in more postgraduate courses; increased HDR stipends for more HDR students; and genuine cost of living support for students on placements.
  • Emphasised the need to provide genuine support for disabled students/students with disability through providing hybrid options for all students and additional time to complete for disabled HDR students.
  • Called on the government to invest additional resources to reduce sexual assault and harassment on campus, and to ensure sufficient data is gathered regularly through the National Student Safety Survey.
  • Highlighted how purpose-built student accommodation in NSW is not appropriately regulated, leaving students extremely vulnerable to unfair charges and unsafe living conditions.

The final report will be submitted to the Minister for Education in December 2023. We are looking forward to positive changes to the higher education system that improve the lives of students.

Read our full response to the Interim Report here [PDF 344KB].