Just one in ten South Australian voters support the proposed cuts – significantly below national support, which sits at a low 16 per cent. Only 12 per cent of Victorian voters favour the cuts.
The polling, conducted by JWS Research for Universities Australia in the second half of July, reveals 62 per cent of all voters across the country oppose the cuts.
In South Australia and Victoria, nearly two in three voters (64 per cent and 63 per cent) oppose the proposal.
The legislation to impose the cuts is scheduled for debate in the House of Representatives today and the Senate tomorrow.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the Australian community could see it made no sense to cut university funding at a time of rapid and dramatic economic change.
“This confirms that the Government’s plan to impose a $2.8 billion cut on universities and students is way out of kilter with community sentiment,” Ms Robinson said.
“Voters don’t want to see cuts to universities – which are key drivers of economic growth – because they create new jobs, reskill Australians and secure $24 billion a year in export income.”
“Universities and their students have already contributed almost $4 billion to repair the Budget over the last six years. Clearly, the Australian community is saying enough is enough: no more uni cuts.”
The poll of 1575 voters showed majority voter opposition right across the country to the proposed $2.8 billion in cuts to universities and students over the next four years.
The proposed cuts are in stark contrast to several of Australia’s major economic competitors, who are maintaining strong public investment in higher education and research.
Only last week, the respected global university rankings analyst Phil Baty, of Times Higher Education, issued a bleak warning that the proposed cuts could “seriously harm the country’s institutions”.
Global rankings are a key influence on where international students choose to study, and continued high performance by Australia’s universities is crucial to our nation’s export earnings.