Safety on university campuses will come under the spotlight of a review.
Our Watch chief executive Patty Kinnersly will lead a working group examining on-campus safety and stopping sexual assault.
The organisation is a national leader in the prevention of violence against women and their children.
Education Minister Jason Clare said the group would begin its work next week.
"We have to get this right. Safety on campus has been talked about for long enough, the statistics are shocking," he told parliament on Wednesday.
"One in 20 students reported being sexually assaulted since starting university, according to the 2021 national student safety survey, and one in six reported being sexually harassed."
Mr Clare said concerns had been raised about the response to sexual assault on campus, including inconsistent complaint processes and a lack of resources.
The issues have been brought up as part of the universities accord reform.
The final report of the accord panel, which is looking at higher education sector reform, will be handed down at the end of the year.
An interim report has been released.
Mr Clare said concrete plans were needed to boost campus safety.
"This is not about more research or more surveys. This is about what will make a difference on campuses," he said.
"It needs the input and the action of federal, state and territory governments. That's why the working group draws on members from each, and universities need to be doing more here."
The chair of peak body Universities Australia, David Lloyd, said he welcomed Ms Kinnersly's appointment.
In an address to the National Press Club, he said universities needed to properly handle the issue.
"We have a significant issue in our institutions which we have to step up on and be accountable for," Professor Lloyd said.
University vice-chancellors met on Wednesday, agreeing to run individual and tailored programs in 2024.
"We recognise that one-size-fits-all intervention strategies do not translate to broad benefit in this most difficult of domains," Prof Lloyd said in a statement.
"There was agreement across the membership that individual universities have strong understandings of their own unique demographics, campuses and students, which is why they are best placed to continue building on the extensive work undertaken to date."
Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley said students had a right to be safe while they were at university.
"We need to do better. How many have had their lives and their dreams forever changed because of the actions of perpetrators?" she said.
"How many doctors or scientists have we lost? How many discoveries or inventions have been missed because we fail to help our students achieve and pursue their potential in a safe environment?"
Independent MP Zoe Daniel said Ms Kinnersly would bring experience to the working group.
"Ms Kinnersly knows how to get the right voices around the table to create much-needed change," she said.
"Reform is long overdue. It's been six years since the landmark Change The Course investigation found widespread sexual violence on campus and systemic failures to respond to the problem. Universities should be a place of joy, not fear."
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