Universities Australia remains strongly supportive of the Review and the overall direction of its recommendations. An expansion of participation in higher education, and particularly expanding opportunities for traditionally disadvantaged groups, will promote both social inclusion and economic well being.
The Review has proposed a package of measures that represents the basic investment in funding and structural change for higher education needed for Australia to maintain a world-class university system in the immediate years ahead. Universities Australia emphasises the need for both funding and structural reform to proceed in partnership to deliver this outcome.
We would stress that there is strong sectoral and wider stakeholder support for the great bulk of the Bradley recommendations. Some specific recommendations still require working through, but this does not prevent Government proceeding with key matters. Enhanced investment in higher education will support jobs, recovery and growth, both now and into the future.
Universities Australia's prioritisation is for:
1. Increased base funding for teaching and learning by 10 per cent as early as possible, and supplemented by a consolidated equity and performance fund equal to 6.5 per cent of teaching and learning costs
2. Maintenance of the future value of base funding by a true cost indexation formula along the broad lines suggested in Bradley
3. Increased Research Infrastructure Block Grant funding to 50 cents in the dollar, while further refinement of full-cost of research principles and practice proceeds
4. Improved income support for students along the broad lines suggested in Bradley.
In addition, the Government should:
5. Continue to expedite the next round of the Education Investment Fund announced on 16 February 2009, including draw down of corpus by $1billion for quality projects
6. Implement the policy commitment to a new student services and amenities fee through successful negotiation of passage of the legislation and speedy implementation of the policy.
As these and the structural recommendations are then determined and implemented, the measures together can deliver a new knowledge economy for prosperity, society and the environment.
I am pleased to set out Universities Australia's position on the specific issues arising from the Bradley Review in the attachment to this letter. Universities Australia would be most willing to discuss any of these conclusions in detail with the Government.
To read the full submission, download the PDF below.