Job-ready Graduates Package draft legislation consultation
The submission to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment in relation to the consultation on the Job-ready Graduates Package, and the proposed reforms contained within the Higher Education Support Amendment (Job-Ready Graduates and Supporting Regional and Remote Students) Bill 2020 (Job-Ready Bill) was prepared by the Law Council of Australia.
The Law Council acknowledges that the unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 has highlighted vulnerabilities across all sectors of Australia’s economy, with the higher education system particularly affected. It is therefore timely to be revisiting the structures and supports within the Australian higher education system with the view to ensuring that it keeps pace with the changing needs of the economy and produces graduates with the skills we as a society require.
Despite an appreciation for the intent behind the proposed reforms, the Law Council has concerns with the proposed changes to funding arrangements as set out in the Job-Ready Bill, particularly as they relate to legal studies. The proposed redesign of funding clusters would see a reduction in Commonwealth contributions legal studies by 51 per cent, and a subsequent increase in student contributions by 28 per cent.
The Law Council is especially concerned that the proposed increase in financial contributions for those studying law will act as an impediment for prospective students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, and will add a further barrier to those who are underrepresented in the legal profession, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and in particular from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
You can read the full submission below.