BILLS – Education Legislation Amendment (Startup Year and Other Measures) Bill 2023 – Consideration of Senate Message

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (12:34): I table an addendum to the explanatory memorandum and move:

That the amendments be agreed to.

These amendments were supported by the government in the Senate. They further the objectives of the government in this bill to provide opportunities for our bright young innovators and to safeguard them in their studies. The first amendment confirms in primary legislation what is already in the government’s draft guidelines—that the intellectual property of students will be protected when they participate in a startup year course. The second reaffirms the government’s commitment to have a regional focus in Startup Year by requiring that 25 per cent of places go to regional universities where that is practicable. The third amendment reinforces existing protections for Startup Year students. I thank Senator Pocock for his engagement on this bill and his proposal of this amendment.

This bill delivers on the government’s election commitment to establish a Startup Year to help build the know-how of the next generation of Australian entrepreneurs. The bill also adjusts the funding caps for the Australian Research Council, continuing the government’s support for our research sector. It also lists Avondale University as a Table B provider under the Higher Education Support Act, giving that university greater access to research grants. As I mentioned in the House on Tuesday, this bill also addresses an existing gap in the HELP system where some New Zealand citizen students were missing out on access to HELP while they moved towards Australian citizenship.

I want to thank all of those who have played a role in this bill’s development and its passage through the parliament. Thanks to my friend and colleague the Minister for Industry and Science, who developed this policy in opposition and who is a tireless supporter of our brightest young innovators in realising the promise of their ideas; to the Department of Education and the Department of Industry, Science and Resources for their work in the consultation process and in the preparation of this bill; to my chief of staff, Scott Davies, whose dedication and skill in guiding this legislation through the Senate deserves special recognition today; and to the peak bodies and universities who engaged in our consultation process and in the Senate committee inquiry into this bill and who have welcomed this initiative so warmly. I commend the bill to the chamber.

Question agreed to.