Question Time: Universities

Mr CLARE (Blaxland—Minister for Education) (14:45): I thank the member for her question and recognise the interest of a number of members of the crossbench who’ve raised the question about reform to HECS or what we now call HELP. I also recognise that the issue has been raised with me by a number of members of the government as well. I met with the member for Jagajaga on this very issue yesterday as well as the member for Chisholm. The member for Cunningham, the member for Macnamara and the member for Bennelong have raised this with me as well. It’s why I asked the accord team to look at this very issue as part of their review of our higher education system.

A couple of weeks ago I released the Universities Accord final report. It’s a blueprint for higher education reform for the next decade and the one after that. It includes recommendations about how we make our HECS system fairer and simpler. We’re looking at all of the recommendations in that report at the moment, including the recommendations around HECS, and we’ll respond with the first stage of our reforms responding to that report in the next months.