“We look forward to working constructively with the Government, Opposition, minor parties and Independents on the policy settings needed to safeguard Australia’s world class university education and research system,” said Universities Australia Chair, Professor Barney Glover.
“One of the first tasks for the incoming Government will be to reassure Australians that they will not be left behind in the global and national economic transition that is currently underway,” Professor Glover said.
In his media conference on Sunday, Mr Turnbull said:
“We need to ensure that we maintain a successful transition from the economy fuelled up by the mining construction boom to one that is more diverse.”
“This election has made clear that many people are anxious about the future and they are looking to government to build confidence that the new economy includes a place for them,” said Professor Glover.
“At the heart of this assurance is the role that the education and training system – from early childhood through to vocational and higher education – will need to play to equip people of all ages and at all stages of their working lives with the skills needed to thrive in the new economy.”
Universities will be centre stage in this evolution. Through their research and innovation programs, universities will help reconfigure and create the industries of the future. And in the education they deliver, universities will produce the graduates needed to meet evolving labour market demands.
“The pace of workforce change means that upskilling, reskilling and lifelong learning will be an essential part of people’s working lives. Our universities, underpinned by proper investment and policy stability, can play a central role in this endeavour,” said Professor Glover.
“Universities Australia agrees with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s observation that all parties need to work together to meet the challenges that Australia faces,” Professor Glover said.
“We will seek early meetings with key Ministers, Shadow Ministers and crossbench MPs and Senators to reinforce the role of universities in positioning Australia for future success. The policy framework to enable that role is outlined in the sector’s policy blueprint Keep it Clever.”
In particular the sector will continue to call for:
- policies and programs to ensure that everyone with the ability to complete a university education has the opportunity to do so;
- no further reductions to the level of public investment in teaching;
- maintaining the integrity and sustainability of the student loans (HECS/HELP) scheme;
- maintaining Australia as a destination of choice for international students; and
- a properly funded research system.
Professor Glover reinforced the sector’s commitment to work constructively with Government to address the policy challenges of delivering mass education in an era of budget constraint.
“We do not believe that the answers lie in further reducing the investment in university education and research following years of substantial funding cuts,” Professor Glover said.
“Once again, congratulations to all successful candidates. We look forward to working with you to ensure that the nation’s universities continue to deliver for Australians.”