In the last two years the number of domestic students at universities has increased by 50,000. According to the government, such a trend will assist in meeting the growing demand for skilled staff. However, a rapid growth in number of students caused the warnings that more infrastructure money should be granted for new classrooms and maintenance as the expansion agenda is to stand still.
Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans believes that a growth in applicants will help the government get 40% of 25- to 34-year-olds holding bachelor's degree by 2025. Senator Evans said: "It means more Australians will have the chance to gain the qualifications they need to access the high-skilled jobs of the future."
However, if universities in the southern Gold Coast region of Queensland and the Tweed Heads region of northern NSW do not receive money for infrastructure, expansion in those regions is impossible despite of the number of potential applicants.
The infrastructure investment was defended by a spokesman for Senator Evans: "The Gillard government has invested more than any other government in Australia's higher education system, which includes a record amount for vital university infrastructure projects".
He provided the data that shows that 480,000 undergraduate places for Australian students have been funded by the government. In 2009 this number increased by 10%.