Release of the Australian Universities Accord

The Albanese Government has today released the Australian Universities Accord Final Report, which has recommended reforms to build a better and fairer higher education system.

The Report contains 47 recommendations and targets to reform higher education and set it up for the next decade and beyond.

The Report recommends that at least 80 per cent of the workforce will need a VET or university qualification by 2050. Currently, it sits at 60 per cent.

The Report says, “raising tertiary education attainment to these levels will not be easy. It can only be achieved by making the higher education system far more equitable.”

That means more Australians from the outer suburbs, the regions, disadvantaged backgrounds and more Indigenous Australians going to university. 

It also finds that the barriers between VET and higher education need to be broken down to ensure a more seamless and integrated tertiary education system.

The Report recommends ambitious targets, including:

  • increasing the tertiary education attainment rate from 60 per cent to at least 80 per cent of Australians in our workforce by 2050
  • increasing the proportion of university educated Australians aged 25 to 34 years from 45 per cent to 55 per cent by 2050, and
  • increasing the number of 25 to 34 year olds with a tertiary level vocational or technical qualification to 40 per cent by 2050.

The Report proposes that implementation of the recommendations be staged.

The Government is considering the Report’s recommendations.

The Universities Accord is the product of 12-months’ work by an expert review panel chaired by Professor Mary O’Kane AC and informed by 820 public submissions and 180 meetings with stakeholders.

The Final Report and its recommendations can be viewed here. A summary of the Report is also available here.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“The Australian Universities Accord has recommended how to reform higher education over the next decade and beyond.

“Under Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, the number of Australians finishing high school jumped from around 40 per cent to almost 80 per cent. That was nation changing.

“The Accord says that in the years ahead, we will need 80 per cent of the workforce to not just finish high school, we will need them to finish TAFE or university as well. 

“The Accord will help to drive this change. It will help us build a better and fairer education system where no one is held back, and no one is left behind.

“I sincerely thank Professor Mary O’Kane AC, the Accord Panel and everyone who has contributed to this important process.

“This is a plan not for one budget, but a blueprint for the next decade and beyond.”