“The almost year-long debate has achieved a remarkable political consensus on one critical factor – that the current state of public investment in universities is insufficient for maintaining and enhancing the quality expected by students, employers and the community,” said Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson.
“The Parliament gives bi-partisan support for national security and defence in the public interest. This consensus should extend to the intellectual building blocks of our economic security.
“The defeat of the Higher Education and Research Reform Bill has created the opportunity for the Government to engage with all stakeholders in developing a robust funding framework that is durable, sustainable and predictable.
“We cannot continue to kick this can down the road,” Ms Robinson said.
In responding to calls for higher education to be fought out in an election, Ms Robinson said: “higher education policy is too important to be allowed to become a Frankenstein-ian by-product of pre-election political positioning”.
“Our universities, and the hopes and aspirations of our children, can no longer afford to be treated as a convenient political football.
“By delivering the highly-skilled graduates and talented researchers our country needs, our universities are driving Australia’s transition to an innovative knowledge-based economy.
“With global competition intensifying, Australia can’t afford to be left behind. Unfortunately, if our universities continue to be sidelined, this is the reality we confront,” Ms Robinson said.
Universities Australia welcomes the Government’s undertaking to work with Senators and others to develop a new approach and we encourage all Parliamentarians to participate in shaping a high-performance Australian university system.