Fiona Nash appointed as Australia’s first Regional Education Commissioner
The Hon. Fiona Nash has been appointed as Australia’s first Regional Education Commissioner and will oversee implementation of recommendations from the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy (the Napthine Review).
In her capacity as Commissioner, Ms Nash will bring a national focus and direction for regional and remote education and champion the educational needs of students in regional communities.
This, Federal Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie explained, will include advocating for the improvement of education policies spanning early childhood education and care, schools, and tertiary education to better support regional, rural and remote students.
“Fiona has a deep love for regional Australia and a strong understanding of the education sector, and I know she will advocate fiercely on behalf of students who live and study in these areas,” Ms McKenzie said.
“I know Fiona is committed to driving implementation of the recommendations from the Napthine Review, and will work to reduce the disparity between city and country students, particularly in relation to education participation and attainment.”
Ms Nash said she welcomed the opportunity to work with governments at all levels as well as peak education organisations and regional and remote communities to improve educational outcomes for students.
The Napthine Review identified that Australians living in country areas are less than half as likely to obtain a university degree by the age of 35, compared to those in cities, she added.
“There are many factors that contribute to this gap, and I welcome the opportunity to work to ensure every Australian has the option to access and benefit from a high-quality education, regardless of where they live.”
Ms Nash has been appointed initially for a three-year term and will report annually on the progress of implementing the recommendations of the Napthine Review, and provide advice on regional education policy issues.
The Australian Government has committed $6 million over four years to establish the role and to undertake a range of projects to significantly improve regional education outcomes by 2030.
To learn more about the issues facing students in regional and rural Australia please see here.
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