Universities Australia thanks every Senator who listened carefully to evidence about the damage that the Government’s proposals, particularly the funding cuts, would inflict on Australia’s world class university system and the country’s future prosperity.
We commend NXT on calling for a deeper and more comprehensive analysis of post-school education and recognising that funding cuts would strike at the heart of Australia’s economic transition.
“NXT has put in the hard yards to understand the issues and the contribution that our world class university system makes to the wellbeing of all Australians,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
“They have sent a very strong message that pulling public investment out of our university system is not the way to build a stronger, more internationally competitive tertiary education system.”
We also acknowledge Senator Jacqui Lambie, Senator Derryn Hinch, the four One Nation Senators led by Senator Pauline Hanson, Labor and the Greens for making clear their views that this package is not in Australia’s best interests.
Ms Robinson said the decision created space for the Government to take a new approach.
“The clear message to all decision-makers should be that inflicting major cuts on Australia’s higher education system is the wrong call,” she said.
“Australian voters and the Australian public know that strong universities are crucial to skill Australians for the jobs of tomorrow, and to create new jobs, industries and sources of income.”
“This is an opportunity for Government to hit the reset button and stop, once and for all, treating our university sector as a target for budget savings – when in fact it is an investment in Australia’s future.”
In its announcement today, NXT backed the Government’s proposal to enshrine its flagship higher education equity program (HEPPP) in legislation to protect it against future funding cuts. It also supports work experience in industry units and regional study hubs.
The party has made clear its strenuous opposition to:
- an ‘efficiency dividend’ cut to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme;
- changes to the repayment thresholds for the Higher Education Loan Program;
- replacing subsidies with loans for most permanent residents and New Zealand citizens;
- a scholarship system for postgraduate coursework places;
- performance contingent funding for universities; and
- new arrangements for enabling courses.