The keynote speaker and HECS Architect, Professor Bruce Chapman from the Australian National University, gave an engaging and enjoyable presentation. He explained the origins of HECS, the conceptual basis, changes and issues over the last 30 years, and international comparisons. Free higher education meant free to students, not to universities. A key takeaway from the keynote presentation was that HECS, an income contingent loan (ICL), was designed to take away contingency and anxiety. Imagine our surprise when we heard that there is a HECS board game!
The Politics, Planning and Performance panel discussion was chaired by Fiona Sutherland. Included in the panel was Catriona Jackson (Universities Australia), Phil Aungles (Department of Education and Training) and Lisa Bolton (Social Research Centre QILT).