A high-performing university sector supports a high-performing nation and underpins a higher and more sustainable standard of living for all Australians. It does this by producing the skilled workers who make our economy hundreds of billions of dollars bigger and through the research and development that propels our technological, social and economic progress. These functions are vital to keeping Australia on a path to fiscal and economic health, while ensuring our nation can respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead of it.
With the first major review of Australia’s higher education system complete, it’s imperative that the government throws its full support behind a sector that serves Australia’s interests. To that end, the budget should contain commitments to underpin the future of our universities and foster an environment – through the provision of funding and favourable policy settings – in which they can continue delivering for the nation.
In addition to the priority recommendations included in our submission to the Australian Universities Accord discussion paper (April 2023), Universities Australia recommends the 2024-25 budget includes:
- funding for a limited number of fee-free university places for disadvantaged students to drive university enrolments and future economic growth in areas of national priority that are currently unsubscribed.
- funding to gradually increase the number of Commonwealth-supported university places to meet Australia’s future skills needs.
- cost-of-living support for students undertaking compulsory placements and greater financial assistance for PhD students.
- increased funding in research and development to support the delivery of national priorities and maintain Australia’s world-class research reputation.