The Turnbull Government has welcomed new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that highlights positive trends in higher education as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education outcomes.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the growing proportion of Australians with post-secondary qualifications was paying dividends.

“Australians understand the value of education and we’re backing them every step of the way,” Minister Birmingham said.

“From the high chair to higher education, the Turnbull Government is delivering landmark reforms to child care, schools and to our vocational education system and universities to ensure every Australian gets the opportunities they need to succeed.

“Having more highly skilled Australians helps create more high-skilled opportunities.

“As more people look to take advantage of the world class institutions we have in Australia, we’ve been boosting our investment in higher education.

“As the OECD recently made clear, our spending as a percentage of GDP on higher education increased to 1.6 per cent compared to the OECD average of 1.4 per cent. The increase in higher education funding in Australia between 2005 and 2014 was the third highest in the OECD.

“Combined with our $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund to support 300,000 apprenticeships, our new VET Student Loans program and our reforms to universities to boost student outcomes, the Turnbull Government’s commitment to higher education is clear.”

Minister Birmingham said the strong improvements in education outcomes for Indigenous Australians were encouraging but more work needed to be done.

“We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can face additional hurdles in the education system,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The Turnbull Government has been taking action across a variety of areas in Indigenous education including the Think Your Way portal to give students information on higher education and $5.75 million for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience to support 6000 more students to stay in school and complete their studies.

“Our new schools funding arrangements will also increase support for Indigenous students with an additional $4.3 billion over the coming decade.

“Ultimately, everything we’re doing is about helping more Indigenous students to finish year 12, to go on to further education or training and into employment.”