Media releases


Kylie Austin 


Response to proposed Higher Education Reforms

July 2020


The Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) recently contacted the Minister for Education, Skills and Employment - the Honorable Dan Tehan MP to provide feedback on the proposed Higher Education (HE) Reforms.


Of particular note are the proposed changes to the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) and the establishment of the Indigenous, Regional and Low-SES Attainment Fund (IRLAF). We believe refinement of the proposed changes could strengthen the sustainability of the Higher Education sector, while increasing opportunities for our most vulnerable students. 


Key recommendations include:

  • Implementing measures to increase the visibility of equity cohorts who were not identified as part of the reform package, such as students with disability;

  • Mandating HE institutions to maintain a minimum commitment to undertaking Outreach activities;

  • Refining the regional, rural and remote (RRR) classification to reflect the needs of RRR students; and

  • Committing to longer term funding cycles and early notification of HEPPP funding.

Read the full submission (PDF, 659kb)​

2018-19 WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holders announced

February 26 2019


EPHEA congratulates winners of the 2018-19 WGEA (Workplace Gender Equality Agency) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation holders. Putting together this citation takes a lot of work.


Across Australia and New Zealand equity practitioners are working hard to put strategies and initiatives in place to support gender equality and diversity into their organisations.


Gender equality can't be solved through citations or strategies on paper it has to be embraced by all staff and lead by visionary leaders who understand the barriers and want to lead change.


WGEA cites a number of key trends in tackling entrenched inequality in the workplace including: increasing lexible work practices; programs that support women into leadership; parental leave policies to support both women and men; initiatives to encourage women to return to work after a career break​; and robust analysis and correction of gender pay gaps.

For more information visit WGEA


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Supporting regional, rural and remote students in
higher education

February 2019


EPHEA recently provided recommendations, and met with, the Regional Education Expert Advisory Group in relation the National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy aimed to drive increased participation in post-secondary education. 

In response to the National Regional, Rural and Remote Education Strategy Framing Paper released in late December EPHEA has made several recommendations to better support for students from regional, rural and remote (RRR) locations.


Central to this is the recognition that RRR students are not a homogenous group and face a range of challenges and barriers including multiple factors of disadvantage, tyranny of distance, and limited choice.


Key recommendations include:​

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  • Investment across all schooling, VET and higher education sectors in regional, rural and remote areas. This support includes improving infrastructure (broadband, transport, housing); access to quality teaching and resources that aid achievement and retention; opportunities for flexible study modes and pathways.

  • Specific strategies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in RRR locations must be part of any strategy and this involves engagement with Indigenous experts, stakeholders and communities.

  • Support and enhancement to existing funding and programs that widen participation and build aspiration in post-school study. This includes improvements in Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) funding where equity practitioners at universities across Australia are engaging with RRR students to support their tertiary education goals. Sustainable funding for HEPPP is essential to continued success for place-based work in RRR communities.

  • Income support and scholarships need to cater for the challenges of studying in remote locations or relocating to study. This income support needs to account for students who are part-time, have carer responsibilities and live in areas with higher costs for travel and housing.

  • Ongoing consultation with key stakeholders, including students, in the design and delivery of a national strategy. EPHEA, its members and key researchers in the field have a wealth of knowledge to share and we encourage a bipartisan and inter-sectoral approach to strategies which support regional, rural and remote students.

10 steps to a more equitable higher education system

November 2, 2018



The Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) Association recently provided  information to both the Minister for Education and Training, the Honorable Dan Tehan MP and the Opposition Minister for Education and Training, Tanya Plibersek MP in response to Labor’s recent announcements committing to boost equity and participation in Australia’s Universities.

EPHEA believes that a bipartisan approach to equity in higher education is a productive and necessary way forward to improve policy settings conducive to participation by equity groups in this sector.

Bringing together the latest research, practice and feedback from members we have suggested 10 key areas of focus for creating a more equitable education system that truly supports access, participation, retention and success from under-represented groups.

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  1. Provide adequate support for the Higher Education Partnerships and Participation Program (HEPPP) as a fundamental and sustainable strategy to support LSES access and participation is needed

  2. Address the lack of an integrated approach to tertiary education access and participation to allow for better transition between school, TAFE/VET and university

  3. Provide more targeted support for students from regional and remote areas

  4. Address the flawed policy and funding settings through the Indigenous Student Success Program (ISSP) to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

  5. Increase funding for the Disability Support Program (DSP) to support students with disabilities within higher education

  6. Retain free enabling programs as tried and tested pathways for equity group students into tertiary education

  7. Urgently review income support and Commonwealth Scholarships, in particular Start-up loans and Relocation Scholarships so that this support better addresses the needs of low-income students

  8. Reverse the decision to reduce the HECS-HELP income threshold as this is a major deterrent to low-income students’ access to higher education

  9. Provide access to HECS-HELP for some domestic students, in particular, NZ citizens who have, and will, contribute to the Australian economy

  10. Reverse cuts to higher education of over $2.1 billion dollars

You can read the full set of recommendations sent to both the Government and Labor below. We welcome the opportunity to meet with both ministers on these issues.

A fair go for NZ citizens in higher education


June 2017

Global Gender Gap Index Report

2 November 2017


The Global Gender Gap Index Report was released November 2. 


The Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four thematic dimensions: Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment. Weighted by population, in 2017, the average progress on closing the global gender gap stands at 68.0%— meaning an average gap of 32.0% remains to be closed worldwide across the four Index dimensions in order to achieve universal gender parity, compared to an average gap of 31.7% last year. This data shows that the pay gap for the first time in many years is worsening.

You can read a list of key findings as well as the full report here.

Response to Job-ready Graduates Package draft legislation

August 2020


The Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA) recently provided feedback to the Minister for Education, Skills and Employment - the Honorable Dan Tehan MP on the Job-ready Graduates Package draft legislation.


Key recommendations include:


  • Considering the impact of redesigning the funding clusters and student contribution bands as it will disproportionately impact the choices of students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds;

  • Expanding demand-driven Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) for Indigenous Regional, Rural and Remote students to include Indigenous students living in metropolitan areas;

  • Reconsidering the introduction of the new provisions in HESA to extend the objective of the 50 per cent pass rate rule to Commonwealth supported students;

  • Legislating the Indigenous, Regional and Low SES Attainment Fund (IRLAF) to provide medium to long term equity funding commitments to universities.

Read the full submission (PDF, 675kb)​

Funding cuts freeze students out of higher education


December 2017