Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson welcomed incoming Education Minister Dan Tehan to the portfolio, which includes responsibility for all parts of the education system from early childhood education to higher education and research.
“We know Minister Tehan has a strong interest in the nation-building and economy-powering work of universities — especially in our regions but also right across our country,” Ms Jackson said.
“We urge him and the new Cabinet to make it a priority to end the economy-damaging university funding freeze and its cap on places and opportunities for Australian students,” she said.
Ms Jackson also thanked Senator Birmingham for his engagement with higher education policy detail and his strong support of international education in particular.
“Minister Birmingham has been a very strong supporter of Australia’s high-quality international education sector and we are pleased he will continue that commitment as Minister for Trade.”
Universities Australia also welcomed the restoration of Science as a named Cabinet portfolio and congratulated Karen Andrews on being named Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
“Minister Andrews has been a strong ally for vocational education in our country, and she will doubtless bring that same energy to these three crucial new policy areas,” Ms Jackson said.
“The majority of scientific research in Australia is done by our universities and industry-university partnerships contribute an impressive $10 billion a year to collaborating firms.”
Ms Jackson thanked outgoing Foreign Minister Julie Bishop whose signature policy the New Colombo Plan has played a major role in advancing Australia’s ties and place in the region.
“By establishing the New Colombo Plan, Minister Bishop recognised the vital role that international education plays in Australia’s relationships with the world,” Ms Jackson said.
“By the end of this year, the New Colombo Plan will have supported more than 30,000 Australians to develop personal connections in our region and support Australia’s soft diplomacy efforts.”
Universities Australia also thanked Minister Birmingham and outgoing Industry Minister Michaelia Cash for delivering $1.9 billion for research infrastructure spending over the next 10 years.
Minister Cash was also a strong supporter of women in STEM and delivered funding for programs that highlighted female leadership role models in science.