In his speech to the Australian Financial Review’s Higher Education Summit, Minister Tehan noted:
“A well-delivered higher education is one of the most important things we can offer Australians to help them and their children prepare for their future.”
Universities Australia Chair Professor Deborah Terry said the university sector and its peak body would work closely with Government to advance those aims.
“The Minister clearly sees the shared challenge for Government, universities, families and students as the ‘Costello babies’ begin to turn 18 in the next few years,” she said.
“And his speech highlights how crucial universities are to our national effort to grow jobs, boost productivity and offer life-changing opportunities to all Australians of aptitude and ambition.”
Minister Tehan noted the higher education sector was “crucial to the ambitions” of the Morrison Government to grow productivity and the economy overall.
He also urged business and universities to collaborate to an even greater extent.
“We are pleased to see the Minister back that collaboration and encourage even deeper links between business and universities building on those strong foundations,” Professor Terry said.
She highlighted the university sector’s deep commitment to industry-university collaboration, showcased by the sector’s Clever Collaborations initiative.
“There is a compelling business case for industry to tap into the expertise in our world-class universities – it’s a powerful competitive edge for Australian business,” she said.
“For every dollar a company invests in collaborative university research in Australia, the company can expect a $4.50 return.”
On the future of the system, Minister Tehan said we need to show that Government investment “is delivering a system that is strong, sustainable and responsive to the needs of Australians”.
“If we can achieve this, growth in the sector will not only be possible, but will be demanded,” he said.
University leaders have continued their very constructive engagement with Government over its performance-based funding proposals — which Minister Tehan indicated he hoped to finalise in coming days.
Professor Terry said the sector would continue that constructive approach and wanted to ensure higher education opportunity could be delivered to the greatest number of Australians.
“It’s about opportunities for Australians – and especially young Australians – to have the life-changing chance of a university education.”
Minister Tehan said: “The higher education system must be open and accessible to all Australians.”
“Higher education has a hugely important role to play – in Closing the Gap, in conquering the city-country divide, in supporting people with disabilities and in lifting people out of disadvantage into a better life.”