This comes alongside a further statement from the Group of Eight universities calling on the Senate to block the Government’s proposed higher education legislation.
The latest moves follow the statement by Universities Australia Chair Professor Margaret Gardner, declaring the sector’s unanimous opposition to the proposed university funding cuts and student fee increases, and majority opposition to the Bill as a whole, after Vice-Chancellors met on May 16.
In the weeks since, universities have been doing further analysis of how hard the cuts would bite at an institutional level.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said that careful analysis had confirmed how deeply the funding cuts would force universities to cut staff jobs and student support services.
“The grim reality is that if these cuts are passed, most institutions do not have capacity to absorb them. At every university, students would pay more to get less,” she said.
Professor Gardner said: “Cuts to university funding would be cuts to jobs – including in hard-hit regional and disadvantaged communities – and they would be cuts to vital support services for students under stress.”
“University leaders are deeply concerned about the harm these cuts would inflict on their students and local communities.”
The proposed cuts in the 2017 Budget would come on top of the $3.9 billion that universities and students have already contributed to Budget repair since 2011.
The Government also plans to strip $3.7 billion from universities by closing the Education Investment Fund, the last source of funds to build and maintain university facilities including classrooms, research labs and student hubs.
“Enough is enough,” Ms Robinson said. “Universities and their students have already done more than their fair share for Budget repair.”
“The simple truth is this: the very last thing we should be doing to prepare for this high-tech, innovation-driven era of rapid change is to cut funding to university education and research.”
“We can’t be any clearer than this: uni cuts aren’t clever.”