Universities support startup bill but say more work needed

Australia’s universities have backed legislation to introduce the government’s startup programme but want flexibility in the pilot phase to iron out a range of issues with the proposal, including access problems driven by more student debt and limited placements, writes Joseph Brookes for

At a Senate inquiry on Monday 17 April, university groups and individual institutions gave broad support for the Albanese government’s Startup Year programme. University representatives welcomed the clarity that had been provided in the bill compared to an initial consultation last year, but noted much more work will be needed in the pilot phase and in the development of guidelines before a full roll out next year. Universities also defended a challenge from private providers wanting to deliver the programme.

The bill, which passed the lower house in March but is still under consideration in the Senate, amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to create a new HELP assistance loan. Two loans of up to AU$11,800 (US$8,000) would be available for final-year undergraduate students, current postgraduate students and recent graduates to attend accelerator programme courses at Australian universities and university colleges.
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