Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said: “the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has already articulated a clear and optimistic vision for an agile, innovative and creative Australia.
“This is a vision shared by our universities and requires a partnership to leverage our intellectual infrastructure and human capital to position Australia for long-term national success.
“It is our universities that will produce the graduates to create and fill the jobs of the future.
“It is also our universities, through their research programs, that will deliver the products, the breakthroughs and new industries needed to secure our long-term prosperity.
“Education, innovation, ideas and entrepreneurialism are the ‘new wave’ commodities desperately needed to drive the transition to a knowledge economy. They are essential if we are to seize the opportunities of the future,” said Ms Robinson.
“Realising the full potential of our universities requires predictable public investment in teaching and learning that has us closer to the top of the OECD than the bottom.
“And it requires an investment in science and research that enables us to compete with our peers and hold our own on the international stage for the contribution we make to the global research and innovation effort,” Ms Robinson said.
“Over the past decade both major parties, when in government, have sought to cut funding to the very sector responsible for equipping Australia to meet the challenges of change.
“Universities stand ready to help shape a new national and innovation agenda. It is possible to maximise the opportunities for all Australians if we make smart decisions to invest in the drivers of our future prosperity.
“A successful and optimistic future relies on strong universities to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge to thrive and drive the new economy; and to produce the research and innovation needed to generate our new sources of national income.
“We welcome the early commitment from Minister Birmingham to work collaboratively with education stakeholders to develop policy and to build broad support for any future reforms,” Ms Robinson said.
As the peak body for universities, Universities Australia will be seeking early meetings with Minister Birmingham and Minister Pyne to progress the revitalised education and innovation agenda.