“Both Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Senator Carr have acknowledged on many occasions the critical role that research, innovation and higher education must play in securing a robust economy, industrial diversity and long-term national well-being,” said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
“Australia must have the knowledge and innovation infrastructure needed to succeed in an increasingly tough and competitive global environment. In short, we must have a knowledge-based economic future.
“Senator Carr’s track record on advancing science and research, and the new portfolio that has it linked to higher education, industry and innovation acknowledges the central role that universities will play in driving national productivity, economic diversity and advanced manufacturing,” she said.
Referring to $3.8 billion worth of higher education `savings’ announced by the Government over the past eight months and the failure of the Coalition to oppose them, Ms Robinson called for a re-think of the budget measures which are still to be legislated.
“The eight out of ten Australians who believe that budget cuts to higher education threaten Australia’s future will be looking to Mr Rudd and Senator Carr to reconsider these short-sighted decisions.
“When he was previously Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Carr set the scene for a comprehensive and unprecedented boost in investment for university science and research in Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century.
“We look forward to Senator Carr re-visiting and renewing his visionary agenda.
“We also look forward to working with Senator Carr to make sure that all children who aspire for a world-class university education will have the opportunity to do so, regardless of their background, postcode, or socio-economic circumstances.”
Ms Robinson thanked former Tertiary Education Minister, Craig Emerson for his openness and willingness to consult with the sector and wished him all the best for his future.
“Dr Emerson came into the portfolio at a difficult time. We acknowledge his work and strong support in progressing an international education reform package, and his commitment to reducing red tape for universities,” Ms Robinson said.