The Minerals Council of Australia through its higher education arm, the Minerals Tertiary Education Council (MTEC), has been closely monitoring the debate within the Australian Senate on the proposed Higher Education and Research Reform Bill 2014.
On 17th March 2015 the Bill was defeated for a second time in the Senate 34 votes to 30. This came as no great surprise. A number of Senators had indicated that they would be voting the higher education reforms down, despite concessions made by the Abbott government prior to the vote.
The success of these reforms hinged on the support of the cross-bench. While the Abbott Government secured the vote of Senators Bob Day, Senators Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus, Nick Xenophon, Zhenya Wang and Jacqui Lambie voted against.
Reports indicate, however, that the Education Minister Christopher Pyne is seeking to push ahead with the "vital" reforms at the winter parliamentary sitting.
“We will continue to work with senators and others who wish to be part of a constructive discussion,” Mr Pyne said in a media release after the Senate defeat.
What impact these reforms may have on minerals higher education and research in Australia, if eventually passed, is an area that MTEC is currently analysing. As always, the minerals industry remains committed to supporting 17 partner universities in the delivery of world-class and world-first undergraduate programs in mining engineering, minerals geoscience, and metallurgy.