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Go8 Media Release: Go8 calls on “pragmatic” Government to move quickly on Higher Education enquiry

The Group of Eight (Go8), which comprises Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, strongly supports the Nick Xenophon Team’s call for a comprehensive ‘Gonski-style’ review of post-secondary education and is disappointed the Government has not immediately embraced such a review for the benefit of all tertiary students and the future of the economy.

Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said that there is now an opportunity and a responsibility to pursue positive, considered reform for post-secondary education. “Education Minister Simon Birmingham yesterday told media he was part of a pragmatic Government. Embracing a Gonski-style review would indeed illustrate just how pragmatic he is. The sensible Senate cross-benchers have spoken. The proposed funding cuts are dead, and the sector has been unanimous in thanking them for their strong and principled stand,” she said.

“Now it’s time to move on and move on quickly. The Go8 is keen to work with the Government to consider and resolve the many issues the sector currently confronts that require adjustment and sustainable funding for the good of the nation,” said Ms Thomson.

“NXT has clearly articulated the need for a comprehensive review of post-secondary education – something that the Go8 has also been on the record as supporting,” Ms Thomson said. “This also aligns well with calls by the Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan for a National Regional Higher Education Strategy, which the Go8 agrees must be part of an overall review.

“Post-secondary education must deliver to all Australians access to the education that will best suit them – whether it be vocational education, university education or research training. It must also support outstanding research undertaken in Australia’s university system that is an integral part of a world class education, provides innovation for our economy and underpins Australia’s $28 billion international education industry.

“And this must be done in a coordinated, consistent and equitable way that treats post-secondary education as a spectrum of activity and not a series of isolated silos. It must take into account how best to factor in employment outcomes and admissions standards to ensure that enrolments and course profiles are aligned to the skills needed in the workplace of the future.

“There must be transparency in the resourcing of delivering education that ensures accountability and also funds educational institutions for what they actually do and puts an end to the under-funding of Australia’s research effort.

“While we may have had our disagreement with the Government on the current misguided legislation, we know that Minister Birmingham does share our aspiration for a world leading education and innovation system and hope to work constructively with him on a comprehensive review of post-secondary education. “The national interest demands no less.”

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472

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