“Policy stability and adequate funding is critical for universities to deliver the quality of education expected by students, employers and the broader community,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson.
“We agree with Mr Shorten’s emphatic statement that university funding is an investment in the future.”
By not proceeding with the Government’s proposed 20 per cent cut to higher education or Labor’s previously announced efficiency dividend, the status quo level of funding would be retained.
Universities Australia has noted, however, that the rate of growth over time must keep pace with the true cost of delivery, rather than the general inflation rate.
“Universities would be concerned if Labor supports the Government’s proposal to peg growth in funding to CPI rather than the true cost of delivery,” said Ms Robinson.
“That would mean that, over time, universities would need to find alternative sources of revenue to avoid eroding the quality of their teaching programs.”
Universities have welcomed the commitment by Labor to support the demand-driven system and its emphasis on equity of access.
“This makes strong economic sense. Indeed, as Mr Shorten noted today, modelling by the former Australian Workplace Productivity Agency in 2013 confirmed that every dollar invested in tertiary education grows the economy by $26. It also boosts tax revenue by $8,” said Ms Robinson.
“While there are a number of positives announced today by Labor, we will be interested in better understanding the detail that sits behind these announcements, particularly in relation to plans for a Labor Government to accurately predict, and have universities meet, future labour market needs.
“Labor’s reversal of cuts to student funding that it unveiled prior to the last election has been well received by the sector and we look forward to further announcements on long-term sustainable funding for research and innovation,” said Ms Robinson.