In launching the first Annual Report under Universities Australia’s Indigenous Strategy 2022-25, Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said this change would help more Indigenous Australians realise their full potential, leading to better social and economic outcomes.
Under current government policy, only Indigenous peoples in regional and remote areas are guaranteed a university place, despite 75 per cent of Indigenous Australians living in urban areas.
“Today, almost one in two young Australians in their 20s have a university degree, but only seven per cent of young Indigenous Australians do,” Ms Jackson said.
“Successive governments have tried to close the Indigenous education gap, yet they are still massively underrepresented in our universities.
“The attainment rate for Indigenous peoples living in major urban areas is one third of the rate for non-Indigenous Australians. This is not good enough.
“Attending university is one of the greatest opportunities you can have in life, which is why we need to extend that opportunity widely.
“Uncapping places for Indigenous people living in metropolitan areas would go a long way to closing the attainment gap and addressing decades of disadvantage.
“Universities Australia estimates that achieving university attainment parity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in major urban areas could add $1.5 billion to the economy.”
Through the Indigenous Strategy 2022-25, universities are committed to breaking down the barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, staff and communities. The Annual Report aims to track progress against the commitments in the strategy.
In our submission to the Universities Accord panel, Universities Australia also recommended setting the higher education attainment target for Indigenous graduates in line with non-Indigenous graduates and aligning new attainment targets with the targets in Closing the Gap.