Revitalising education in New England

03 Mar 2017


The Coalition Government has launched a comprehensive review to boost outcomes for regional, rural and remote students not just at school, but also as they go on to further study, training and employment.


Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the review would hear stories and feedback about regional and rural education from across the country and he called for educators, students, families, employers and the local New England Electorate community to have their say.


“The Coalition is committed to giving Australians the opportunities they need to succeed, no matter where they live or what their circumstances,” Mr Joyce said.


“I’ve heard the success stories, the concerns and suggestions about regional education from parents doing the school drop off, from local businesses looking for the right people to hire, and from young people who’ve been off to one of the capital cities to study and returned home.  I call on all local education community, families, employer groups and the philanthropic sector to take part in this review process, because your input and suggestions will help shape the future of education in regional and rural Australia.


“The Nationals stand up for the bush and this review delivers on our commitment to tackle the unique challenges people in areas like the New England Electorate face and it will come up with solutions to better support students in school and into pathways beyond school.”


Mr Joyce said the review would be critical in addressing the key barriers and challenges that impact on the educational outcomes of regional, rural and remote students.


“The Coalition Government’s independent comprehensive review into equity of education access for rural and regional students will seek fresh ideas and fresh thinking to bridge the divide,” Mr Joyce said.



“There’s a clear disparity between education in the bush and the city and this seeks to address the gap of achievement, aspiration and access to higher education faced by regional students.  That’s why we are going out to the edges, to hear from our regional communities in order to find solutions to build the skills of regional Australians to allow our youth better jobs and better opportunities, no matter where they live.”


Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham said the independent review into regional, rural and remote education would be led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey of Flinders University.


Minister Birmingham said regional education needed to be looked at as a “complete puzzle” and not as separate school, higher education and training sectors.


“This review will look at education from school entry to job success and how we can improve results for rural and regional people,” Minister Birmingham said.


“Approximately one third of regional and remote students do not complete Year 12 or an equivalent unit of study and that number rises to almost two thirds of very remote students.  We must drive and better set policy to encourage ambition among our country students.  Regional and remote students made up just 18.8 per cent of domestic undergraduate students at universities, compared to making up 26.4 per cent of the population in 2016.


Minister Birmingham said Professor Halsey commenced his career as a teacher and was a principal of two schools in South Australia and his experience spans across numerous positions outside of the classroom on advisory boards and in educational leadership roles.


“His extensive knowledge and experience in rural and remote education and passion for the sustainability of rural schools and communities make him ideally suited to lead this review.”


The review will be conducted in consultation with key stakeholders and will benefit country people and country communities.


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