“Mr Rudd has acknowledged on many occasions the critical role that research, innovation and higher education need to play to secure a robust economy, industrial diversity and long-term national well-being” said Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of university peak body, Universities Australia.
“This vision, however, is incompatible with decisions taken by the Government over the past eight months to reduce the investment in universities and funding for students to the tune of almost $4 billion.
“Achieving long-term national prosperity requires us to make a transition to a more diversified economy and industrial base. This cannot be achieved without a comprehensive national plan that is based on building our knowledge and innovation infrastructure.
“Universities Australia respects and supports the Prime Minister’s commitment to improving the quality of school education but calls on the government to re-consider its approach to achieving its school education goals by reducing its investment in higher education.
“Cannibalising higher education to increase funding for schools only serves to downgrade Australia’s total education system”, Ms Robinson said.
“This government can be rightly proud of many of the decisions it has taken on education.
“But the announcements over the past 8 months to strip $3.8 billion from the sector make no sense, are not supported by the Australian community, and undermine the Government’s own policy agenda for higher education, so well received just two years ago.”
“Universities Australia urges the Rudd Labor Government to review the higher education savings measures as a matter of urgency and as an important first step on the road to securing long-term national prosperity”, Ms Robinson said.