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13 April 2013
University funding cuts announced by the Federal Government today are like robbing Peter to pay Paul and are curious in light of the Government's stated aim of delivering a world-class education system, according to Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander.
The Federal Government today announced that $2.3 billion will be stripped from the university sector over the next four years to help pay for school funding reforms that are yet to be successfully negotiated between the State and Federal Governments.
“After introducing the demand-driven system a couple of years ago to encourage further enrolments in higher education, the Federal Government has now introduced the largest funding cuts to the sector since the mid 1990s,” Professor den Hollander said.
“I recognise that the Government is facing challenging economic circumstances but the longer term impact of these cuts, given the contribution the university sector makes to productivity, may be significant.
“It is widely acknowledged that universities play a pivotal role in equipping the nation's workforce for economic transformation and the new jobs that flow from that transformation.
“Nowhere is this role more important than in Geelong and the broader western region of Victoria as traditional industry in the region is under intense pressure,” she said.
The cuts come on top of earlier reductions to university funding announced six months ago as part of the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook.
“Today's announcement is disappointing. Australia already sits at 25th out of 29 advanced economies for public investment in universities as a percentage of GDP,” Professor den Hollander said.
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