Universities Australia have united with the University Chancellors Council today to release the UA policy platform, setting out a path for the university sector to play its fullest role in helping solve the nation’s biggest challenges and secure Australia’s future.
The Built on bright ideas policy platform calls for greater access to university education, a sustainable research policy and funding system, more effective incentives for research commercialisation, enhanced global connections and commitment to lifelong learning for all Australians.
Universities Australia Chair Professor John Dewar AO said universities, in partnership with governments, industry and the community, stand on the frontline of cutting-edge innovation and expertise.
“Our sector is a highly valuable national asset,” Professor Dewar said.
“We know that before the pandemic universities contributed $41 billion to the economy and supported 256,100 jobs.”
“Vice-Chancellors and Chancellors agree, it’s more urgent than ever that we invest in university teaching, learning and research capability.”
“We must equip people with the education and skills they will need for their future. This will deliver the best and brightest people our economy needs. It will also support the ideas and breakthroughs from which Australians will benefit.”
University Chancellors Council Convenor John Stanhope emphasised the importance of ensuring access to a university education.
“We must do everything we can to make sure Australians residing in urban areas and our regions have access to high quality education to develop the skills they need for the labour market of today and tomorrow,” Mr Stanhope said.
“There is still a considerable attainment gap between regional and metropolitan areas. We are committed to solving this problem especially since regional universities are critical to supporting new industries and serving their local communities.”
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the next election represented a critical juncture for Australia’s universities.
“Our universities are the engine rooms of the economy and we must ensure Australian universities are in a strong position today so they can maximise their contribution,” Ms Jackson said.
“We must resolve how we create a sustainable research system so universities can help business invest in bringing Australia’s brightest ideas to the world.”
“When Australians have the opportunity to engage with universities, our perspectives are enriched and our store of knowledge grows. The sum of this makes us, our communities and our nation better off.”