Universities Australia welcomes the announcement by the Victorian Government to invest $350 million in the State’s universities to support Victoria’s economic recovery and local jobs.
The Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund will boost university capital works, applied research and research partnerships.
The Victorian Government will also provide payroll tax deferrals worth $110m to assist with short-term cashflow challenges.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson welcomed the investment in Victorian universities.
“This $350 million investment in Victorian universities is an investment in the State’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” Ms Jackson said.
“Universities are the engine rooms of growth, producing the skilled graduates and high-quality research that increases economic productivity.”
“Capital works have a multiplier effect by providing jobs during the construction phase as well as supporting local jobs during operation. In the case of universities, they also house the innovation and research labs that generate new jobs and new breakthroughs, including potential treatments for COVID-19.”
“The Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund is good news for Victoria’s universities. However, there are 39 comprehensive universities in Australia, and they are all affected in some way by COVID-19.”
“Now is the time for the Federal Government to reconsider its approach so far and reinvest in universities at a national level.”
Universities Australia recently released modelling estimating the short-term revenue hit to universities would be between $3 billion and $4.6 billion, putting at risk around 21,000 jobs in the next six months.
Last month the Victorian Government announced a $45 million support package for international students, which included relief payments of up to $1,100, co-contributed by Victorian universities.
“International education is Australia’s fourth largest export. In Victoria, universities contributed $7.5 billion in export income in 2018-19, supporting more than 35,000 in full time equivalent jobs,” Ms Jackson said.