*Check against delivery*
Hello again, ladies and gentlemen.
What a fitting way that was to end this year’s Universities Australia Conference.
Australia has been grappling with a skills crisis for years and we know it will continue to be an issue in 2023 – particularly in higher skilled occupations.
Our universities are key to Australia meeting its workforce needs.
In a changing world, the graduates we educate will be more important than ever to our safety, success and prosperity as a nation.
Tanya Monro, Australia’s Chief Defence Scientist, made this very point earlier today by reinforcing the need for unis and defence to work more closely.
We’ll be watching with interest over the coming months as government prepares its response to the defence strategic review.
There will be opportunities for our sector, and we must seize them.
Whether it’s through the provision of skilled graduates and innovation, export income, or as anchors in our communities, unis serve the national interest.
I have been constantly reminded of this over the last two days and I trust you have been too.
My sincere thanks to all those who presented, sat on panels, chaired sessions and just generally contributed to what has been a fantastic event.
I’d also like to thank the conference steering committee, chaired by Professor Geraldine Mackenzie with members Professor Attila Brungs, Catriona Jackson, Professor Renée Leon and Professor Margaret Sheil.
Thank you for the thought and effort put into this year’s inspiring program.
The debate and discussions have been hard-hitting and thought-provoking.
And of course, a big thank you to Catriona and the UA team, especially Arminia Seferovic who has led the organisation and logistics once again this year.
So much goes on behind the scenes to ensure a smooth event each year and it would not be possible without the time and effort you put in – starting many months in advance.
Time together as a sector is always important – not least when it coincides with a major review of higher education.
We all understand the importance of this opportunity.
It was excellent to hear both Minister Clare and Professor O’Kane speak yesterday as we head into the next stage of the Accord.
What is reassuring is that we are high on the government’s agenda.
This is where we belong.
Government recognises our role in making Australia strong and delivering a better future for all Australians.
Working together, let’s make the most of the opportunity in front of us to make universities even stronger for the benefit of our nation.
That is what government expects, and it is what Australia needs.
Universities, working in partnership with government, can and will deliver.
Finally, thank you to our sponsors whose support helps ensure we are able to come together each year. We look forward to seeing you again next year.
I’ll leave it there. I hope you have all enjoyed the last couple of days as much as I have, and I wish you a safe trip home.