Australian universities are strong supporters of the ‘demand driven system’ -— and we welcome the Opposition’s recommitment to uncapped places under the DDS as one of its Budget priorities.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten pledged tonight to “restore funding certainty to our universities … (and) uncap places providing our nation with more than 200,000 university graduates”.
Universities Australia Chair Professor Margaret Gardner said the move to the ‘demand-driven system’ back in 2008 had opened the doors of opportunity to tens of thousands more Australians — and helped the nation to meet the growing demand for skilled graduates in a changing economy.
“Since before the demand driven system, 60,000 extra Australians from the poorest one quarter of households have had the opportunity of a university education. This changes lives,” Professor Gardner said.
“That has been profoundly important not just for those individuals — but it has also strengthened Australia’s society and economy,” she said.
“The university funding freeze announced just before Christmas not only shut the doors of opportunity on thousands of prospective students — it will also cost our economy up to $12 billion as fewer graduates join the workforce.”
Cadence Economics modelling found the fewer skilled graduates resulting from the freeze would mean up to $4 billion lost in tax revenue over the next 20 years.
“We applaud the clear recommitment by Labor to the demand-driven system – which is strongly supported by Australian universities as a key to opportunity and national prosperity.”
“Restoring funding will also help to bridge the gap for regional Australians who are half as likely to have a university degree as people who live in capital cities,” Professor Gardner said.
In her address to the National Press Club in February, Professor Gardner issued a plea to policymakers to keep open the doors of opportunity for all Australians and end the freeze.
“Don’t lock the door of opportunity on young Australians – nor on older Australians who need to retrain and reskill as their jobs change around them,” she said.