Budget doesn’t address university jobs and funding crisis

The Morrison government’s 2020/21 Budget doesn’t provide any real relief for universities, currently experiencing a massive funding and jobs crisis as a result of COVID-19.

NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said:

“Universities are in the midst of their worst ever crisis and tonight’s Budget provides scant support to a sector that should be at the centre of national economic reconstruction.

“The $1 billion for research funding is mostly future spending brought forward. It represents a small fraction of the $7.2 billion research funding shortfall identified by independent analysts due to the collapse in international student income. This shortfall must be addressed if Australia is to re-employ permanent researchers and accelerate its economic recovery.

“The Budget also fails to seriously address the funding and jobs crisis that universities are experiencing. Livelihoods and careers have been demolished in the past six months with 12,000 jobs lost and $3 billion in revenue disappearing.

“The 12,000 additional Commonwealth-supported university places are welcome but will be funded at considerably lower rates than existing students as result of the government’s Jobs-ready Graduate funding changes.

“We are also concerned that the 50,000 additional short courses might not be fully funded with universities expected to offer them at discount rates as was the case short courses announced earlier this year.

“Australia’s universities desperately need a rescue package, but the Treasurer’s focus on jobs in the Budget clearly doesn’t include higher education.”

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