Billions of dollars in cuts — including the current funding freeze — have been inflicted on universities and their students in recent years.
Legislation to impose a further new tax on universities is due to be debated in the House of Representatives tomorrow.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said cuts to universities were really cuts to Australia’s future productivity and the smart, skilled workforce we need in a changing economy.
“The Government’s underlying Budget position is the best it has been since the global financial crisis — and is forecast to be in surplus as soon as next year,” Ms Jackson said.
“Universities have already been cut by billions — and this latest move to impose a new tax on universities to fund the routine administration of Government comes on top of those cuts.”
Deloitte is also forecasting that the Government will return to surplus next year when the uni funding freeze — which locks funding at 2017 levels — will bite even deeper into universities.
BUDGET SAVINGS FROM UNIVERSITIES AND THEIR STUDENTS SO FAR:
- this latest proposed tax on student numbers forcing the sector to pay $11.3 million – previously estimated by Government to be $14 million;
- a $2.1 billion cut in the university funding freeze with 10,000 unfunded student places in 2018;
- a cut of $135 million (at least) from the university research support program to provide funds for five regional universities;
- a plan to tax universities to recover the full costs of running the higher education regulator TEQSA;
- the Skilling Australians Fund levy of $15 million per year on universities when they recruit global researchers and experts to bring their talents to Australia; and
- the proposed abolition of the Education Investment Fund worth $3.8 billion – closing down the last remaining source of capital works funds for higher education and research.
On top of these cuts, the net effect of 89 previous Budget measures between 2011 and 2017 amounted to Budget savings worth $3.9 billion.