The Group of Eight (Go8), which represents Australia’s eight leading research-intensive universities, and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) are proud to announce that they have today signed a three-year collaboration agreement.
Go8 Chief Executive, Ms Vicki Thomson said the agreement will facilitate policy dialogue and engagement to promote more equitable outcomes for students from low socio-economic backgrounds and from regional and remote locations.
“This agreement reflects the shared commitment and determination of the two organisations to drive more equitable outcomes,” said Ms Thomson. “The partnership will fund collaboration and also provide access to any relevant research and to our researchers as needed.”
Ms Thomson said that “together we have also set up a joint working group with four members each from ACOSS and the Go8. This committee will drive much of the work. It is a determinedly outcomes-focussed agreement,” she said.
“The Go8 has always had a strong commitment to equity with over 136,600 students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds studying at Go8 universities in 2016. But we understand how much more needs to be done. “We are particularly concerned about the cost of living during study and housing costs for students living away from home and have been for some years,” she said.
“These higher costs create major barriers for disadvantaged students accessing and completing a quality education. This has to be resolved as every student lost to a quality university education is knowledge and capability lost to the nation’s future. More importantly it is a young adult thwarted from realising their potential because of an inequitable system. We all have to do more and we are determined to.”
ACOSS CEO Dr. Cassandra Goldie said access to a quality education was important to people experiencing poverty throughout their life course.
“We know that almost three million people in Australia are living in poverty today, including 731,000 children. There is only one job available for every eight people looking for paid work or more hours. That is why 70% of people receiving the unemployment payment have been unemployed for 12 months or more.
“We also know that education, paid work and poverty are interlinked. People experiencing poverty and disadvantage face barriers to their participation in education, and often achieve poorer outcomes when in education. At the same time we know that education is a way to break the cycle of disadvantage for people experiencing poverty. That’s why this partnership is important.
“Through this partnership we will bring together expertise that is in the community and the Go8 Universities community and harness that wisdom to help address some of the access and equity problems faced by Australia’s students and potential students across their life course.”
contact: Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472
Kate Finlayson ACOSS Media on +61 419 626 155
*The Go8 represents Australia’s eight leading research intensive universities with seven of its members ranked in the world’s top 100 universities. The group supports 50,000 jobs and delivers 92,000 quality graduates each year. It educates one in three international students who choose to study onshore in Australia, enrolls one third of Australia’s post graduate students and carries out $6 billion in research each year ($2.5 billion funded by Government) and 99 per cent of its research is rated as world class or above.
*The Australian Council of Social Service is a national advocate for action to reduce poverty and inequality and the peak body for the community services sector in Australia. Our vision is for a fair, inclusive and sustainable Australia where all individuals and communities can participate in and benefit from social and economic life.