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Universities Australia today called on the Senate Economics Committee to resist the Government’s plan to scrap the Education Investment Fund – the future fund for higher education set up by former Treasurer Peter Costello.

Speaking at the Senate inquiry into the Bill to close the $3.8 billion EIF, Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said:

“EIF has played a fundamental role in maintaining Australia’s world class university research and teaching. Abolition of the last remaining capital fund for critical buildings and the cutting-edge equipment essential to modern, life-saving science, would be a body blow to the sector."

“Around the world, technology is revolutionising teaching and research and without Commonwealth support for buildings and facilities, Australia risks falling behind."

“Abandoning EIF would be bad for our universities, bad for the economy - with international education our third biggest export earner - but most of all it would be bad for the students that will chart the nation’s future."

“Up to date facilities in universities are essential for protecting our internationally acclaimed high standards of teaching and research. These standards in turn are vital for attracting students from all over the world who contribute to Australia’s diverse international education sector worth $24 billion a year in export income."

“Over 100 nation-building projects have been funded from the EIF – from Deakin University’s Future Economy Precinct to UniSA’s Regional Connections program, which takes cutting-edge education to the regions including via high speed internet.”

“The proposal to close the EIF, comes on top of legislation before the Senate cutting $2.8 billion from universities and students, who have already suffered almost $4 billion in reduced funding since 2011”, Ms Jackson said.

UA Deputy Chair and Vice-Chancellor at Charles Sturt University Professor Andrew Vann said:

“At the University I lead, EIF has delivered $34 million investment towards the National Life Science Hub (NaLSH) in Wagga Wagga, NSW. CSU contributed $14.6M. The EIF investment has contributed to a state of the art, integrated science hub in food security, plant and animal health in regional Australia while delivering research outcomes built on collaboration that are providing impact at national and international scale.”

“Since the establishment of the NaLSH, CSU’s grain science group has attracted approximately $7 million in funding from various organisations to transform the lives of grain producers both in Australia and around the world.

“The NaLSH has provided CSU students with learning and teaching spaces that are world class. It is a laboratory in a region, not a regional laboratory”, Professor Vann said.

“For the sector, EIF has guaranteed that universities can invest wisely in the buildings and equipment that underpin great teaching and research – and allow us to get on with the job, delivering the high-quality education our children and communities deserve.”

Universities Australia Media Contacts

Misha Schubert
02 6285 8133
Mobile: 0421 612 351

Bella Counihan
Ph: 02 6285 8123
Mobile: 0419 212 219 

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