The Parliament today passed legislation to extend access to student loans to eligible New Zealand citizens who have been long-term residents of Australia since childhood.

Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said it made “perfect sense” for New Zealanders who grew up as children in Australia to receive the same higher education support as other Australians.

Minister Birmingham said the Bill gives effect to Prime Minister Turnbull’s commitment last month to extend access to student loans for eligible long-term New Zealand residents extended from 1 January 2016.

“This sensible reform helps support the higher education and training needs of the many New Zealanders who have made Australia their home, and builds on the close relationship between our two countries,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Around 2,600 New Zealanders will become eligible to access loans to help them study at university, or higher level vocational education and training qualifications in Australia.

“Student loans will be extended to Special Category Visa holders from New Zealand who first entered Australia as a dependent child and who have lived in Australia for at least 10 years.”

Minister Birmingham said passage of the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2015 also confirmed funding caps for future high-quality research projects supported through the Australian Research Council. 

“The Bill provides more than $3 billion in funding over the next four years for the vital research programmes administered by the Australian Research Council,” Minister Birmingham said. 

“This allows for additional spending on research projects of up to $1.5 billion over the next four years, and is part of the Turnbull Government’s innovation agenda. 

“This will enable us to build on the high-quality research already being undertaken in Australia, including the 899 new research projects I announced last month in which the Australian Government has invested more than $357 million.”

Minister Birmingham said today’s higher education legislative reforms follows the passing of legislation earlier this month to ensure student loan debt can be recovered from students living overseas.

Senator Birmingham’s media contact: James Murphy – 0478 333 974
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