Higher education – Independent Commission

Studying at university should open the door to a well-paying career. For that to occur, universities must be responsive to labour market pressures and educate students for growth areas in the economy.

Labor will continue to support the demand driven system which has seen an additional 190,000 students enrolled at university today.

But universities must also be attuned to the future labour market and the needs of employers. Improvements in access to big data and advanced analytics capabilities will assist in developing better labour market profiles and forecasting skills needs.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with our universities, industry and science agencies to get the incentives right to meet the needs of the future economy. 

From skill shortages in key occupations to productivity-driving opportunities in new industries, universities will be encouraged within the existing funding system to be more responsive to drivers of growth. 

In consultation with universities, Labor will establish an independent Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to drive these labour market outcomes. Similar Commissions are common in other developed economies; in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Hong Kong, and provide good examples of best practice for Australia to consider.

The current arrangements between the Commonwealth and universities have not always worked as well as they could or in the way they were intended. 

Representing a $14 billion a year investment, Australian taxpayers are entitled to demand that their hard-earned money is delivering the highest standards of teaching and learning, for the benefit of individual students as well as our society and our economy. 

That is why a Shorten Labor Government will work with the sector to uphold a focus on accountability and performance and to lift productivity in our universities. 

More information about Labor’s positive plan is available here.