Statement from Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin on the 2020-21 BudgetMedia release
The 2020-21 Budget is the most telling economic and social announcement in modern times.
Set against a backdrop of one of the most significant challenges in our nation's history, the Federal Budget is ambitious and far-reaching. Combined with the likelihood that the Job-Ready Graduates Bill will pass the Senate this week, this combination represents a major change for the sector.
The Budget contained important elements recognising the vital role of universities, through their education, research and innovation, to contributing strongly to Australia's recovery. Although the challenges placed on us as a result of the pandemic remain very significant, the changes announced last night are very welcome.
The additional $1 billion for the Research Support Program is welcome news as the block grants it underpins play a vital role in supporting research and innovation. We await the details of the allocation methodology to determine the full impact for Deakin.
The additional 50,000 funded places for short courses represent an essential investment in lifelong learning and recognises the important role that universities will play in supporting career changers in the coming years.
We were also pleased to see confirmation of an additional 12,000 funded Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP), although we acknowledge that this will not meet the increased demand we are seeing. We await details on how and where these places will be allocated, and we will work to ensure that our communities get the maximum benefit from any increased allocation to Deakin.
We will continue to deliver flexible and equitable access for students and communities, and ensure we use our research and innovation capabilities fully to address the priorities of Victoria and Australia.
The Budget announcements recognise that Australia must continue to have a robust and sustainable higher education system bringing together, as Deakin does so well, excellence in education and research.
Many other elements of the Budget have the potential to impact on Deakin and in particular, how we engage with industry in an innovation-driven recovery. As details are announced, we will seek to ensure that we maximise Deakin's role in supporting industry across our region.
For our Geelong and Warrnambool communities, this Budget joins the dots between higher education and infrastructure investment and will better connect our campuses. We welcome the $208 million committed to upgrading the Warrnambool rail line, which will ensure a safer and more reliable trip for passengers and allow for modern, faster trains to run on the line for the first time.
We acknowledge that the $600 million already allocated for the next stages of the Waurn Ponds rail duplication will now be brought forward to the next four financial years. These stages include the duplication of track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds, which will significantly improve connections to the Deakin campus.
We look forward to continuing to work in close partnership with Minister Tehan, and the Federal Government, to ensure that Deakin and the entire university sector can deliver positive change and prosperity for our communities.