News & Events

Productivity Commission — Higher Education Access and Outcomes: Live panel discussion

Event Details
Productivity Commission, Melbourne, VIC
17 June 2019 11:15 am

Productivity Commission report launch — The demand driven university system: a mixed report card


Higher education has provided an opportunity for many people from disadvantaged backgrounds to establish themselves on higher-paying career paths. In recent years, more students have been entering university and this increase has included significantly higher numbers from some, but not all, disadvantaged groups.

The Productivity Commission is holding a panel event to launch its latest report: The Demand Driven University System: A mixed report card. The Commission will be joined by an expert panel to discuss higher education, school achievement, access and performance and potential policy solutions.

View event recording:

A video summary of key messages from the Productivity Commission research paper can be viewed here:


  • Professor Sue Trinidad — The Ripple Effect: Student Stories and Evidence-Based Research

Professor Sue Trinidad is Director of the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) funded by the Australian Government and hosted at Curtin University since June 2013. Prior to becoming the NCSEHE Director, Professor Trinidad was Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Humanities at Curtin during 2007-2012. Her role included overseeing the academic programs and leading the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPPP) for a large faculty with many Low SES, Indigenous and regional students. Professor Trinidad is an established scholar and researcher in the area of higher education and currently leads the NCSEHE team on numerous research projects that are building the evidence-base in this important area of student equity in higher education in Australia.

View presentation slides: 

  • Michael Brennan — The demand driven university system: a mixed report card

Michael Brennan is Chair of the Productivity Commission. Previously Michael was Deputy Secretary, Fiscal Group, in the Federal Treasury with responsibility for budget policy, retirement incomes, Commonwealth-State relations, social policy and infrastructure financing. Before that he was Deputy Secretary, Economic in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance. Michael has worked as an Associate Director in the economics and policy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and as a senior adviser to Treasurers and Ministers for Finance at the State and Federal level.

  • Megan O’Connell — Start at the very beginning — improving outcomes for young people

Megan O’Connell is a public policy expert with experience across the early childhood, school and tertiary education sectors. Megan has a long history in developing research driven policy and effective programs targeted at young people who are likely to make a poor transition from school to further education and employment. She led a whole of Victorian government project to address the issue of youth disengagement and, as a Director at the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Megan managed a policy division focused on vocational education and training in schools, career education and trade training centres. Megan was Director of the Mitchell Institute and helped driving a focus on careers and transitions. Megan is now an Honorary Senior Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and continues to explore how to support all young people to better transition from school to tertiary education and work.

  • Andrew Norton — Demand-driven funding not perfect, but it’s adaptable

Andrew Norton is the Higher Education Program Director at the Grattan Institute. Mr Norton is the author or co-author of many articles, reports and other publications on higher education issues. These include Taking university teaching seriously, Doubtful debt: the rising cost of student loans, The cash nexus: how teaching funds research in Australian universities and a widely-used reference report on higher education trends and policies, Mapping Australian higher education. With Dr David Kemp, he was the government-appointed co-reviewer of the demand driven system. He is also an honorary fellow at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne.

Posted 5 June 2019