Commonwealth Budget cuts to research and skills

22 October 2012

The Commonwealth’s “Mid Year Economic and  Fiscal Outlook” (MYEFO) has announced revenue and expense measures which will yield $16 million in additional revenue and program savings/cuts over four years .  The bulk of  portfolio savings will come from programs administered by the Department of Industry, Innovation, Research, Science and Tertiary Education which will yield $1.42 billion over four years.  “Slowing” funding increases under the  Sustainable Research Excellence program, introduced in 2010 to support universities in meeting the indirect costs of their Australian Competitive Grant (ACG) research activities,  will yield about $500 million over four years.

The “cessation” of higher Education Facilitation Funding will save another $270 million.

However, the  Australian Research Council grants program and the Co-operative Research Centres funding program, over which there have been real concerns about possible cuts,  have been preserved intact.   University funding indexation has been preserved but indexation of Student Startup Scholarships has been “paused” (saving of $81 million)  and the extension of student income support to Masters by coursework students, due to be introduced next year, has been “delayed” a further three years ($167 million).
Gross cuts of $516.1 in skills funding over 4 years was offset slightly by additional funding of $57.5 for a “Kickstart in Trades'” program,  for net cuts of $458.6.   The programs with the largest cuts is Targeting skills in need, comprising;:

  • Better targeting part-time and casual incentives – $276.8million
  • Removing incentives for Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas – $83.6 million
  • Support for Adult Australian Apprentices – $81.1 million.

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