“This is a strong budget for the university sector,” said Universities Australia Chief Executive, Belinda Robinson.
“Over the past few years the Government has achieved a number of very significant outcomes in higher education. These include: indexation of base funding, streamlined visa processing for international students, the introduction of the demand-driven system, an increase in infrastructure investment, and funding to meet the indirect costs of research.
The Group of Eight commended the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Chris Evans, for his efforts to prevent Budget cuts in higher education and research. However two key problems remain – inadequate funding per student and a deep hole in funding for research infrastructure
“Against a challenging budget the IRU is very pleased that the Government kept faith with its commitment to education and research as fundamental to our future economic and social well being”, said Professor Ian O’Connor, Chair of the IRU.
“The IRU supports the equity package which provides long term certainty of funding per head for students of enabling programs and for students from a low SES background. These were proposals from the Base Funding Review which the IRU highlighted for action in this Budget,” he said.
The Regional Universities Network (RUN) welcomes the Federal Government’s 2012-13 tertiary education, science and research budget which shows an increased commitment to the university sector. The Chair of RUN, Professor David Battersby, said that the continuation of the demand driven system and improved indexation arrangements in an environment of fiscal constraint was pleasing.
We particularly welcome the Government’s increased support for equity measures in this budget as proposed in the base funding review. The commitment to provide $1400 per low SES student, the increase in partnership funding aimed at helping disadvantaged students aspire to and complete a university education and the increase in loading for enabling courses will assist RUN universities educate low SES students.
The Australian Technology Network of Universities commended the Federal Government for effectively “protecting” Higher Education funding in the context of $33.6bn in budget savings, but warns of the consequences of deferring greater strategic investment in the sector
The Australian Academy of Science welcomed Budget measures to protect Australian research and boost science and maths education, including an extra $54 million over four years to improve participation in the study of science and mathematics at school and university. It expressed disappointment that that, after winding up the International Science Linkages program last year, the government has ignored the Academy’s call to establish a strategic program to support Australian science internationally.
The 2012-13 Federal Budget has squeezed funding for national skills. The Budget measures will increase pressure on states and territories battling tighter revenues. The Budget allocated continued funds to uncapped Commonwealth Supported Places, as per the Rudd/Gillard pledge, including full indexation, costing an extra $1 billion (to $5.2 billion), with payments to higher education now totalling $38.8 billion over four years. By contrast, the Commonwealth indexed agreement under VET reforms in States and Territories will be 1.89 per cent in 2012-13. TAFE Directors Australia said the Budget measures legislating the Commonwealth contribution of $1.75 billion for VET Reform funds over four years, will not be accompanied by any major measures to boost TAFE or skills.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is relieved to see that higher education has been spared any major funding cuts in tonight’s federal budget. But the major outcome of the federal government’s base funding review, specifically an increase in overall public funding to universities, has yet to be realised. Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President, said:
University staff will no doubt be relieved to see that funding increases through improved indexation have not been reversed in the budget, despite rumours to the contrary Research funding, mooted as another possible area for cuts, has also been maintained at its current level.