The Group of Eight (Go8) – which represents Australia’s leading research-intensive universities – has welcomed a commitment by the Federal Opposition to invest in science and research should they win the forthcoming election.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson says Labor Leader Bill Shorten’s budget in reply speech emphasised the critical role our universities will have in delivering on skills and research.
“Our universities are the source of a significant proportion of the graduates and PhDs we look to for the knowledge and skills needed to improve lives and drive economic growth, from engineers to geologists, pilots to paramedics, architects to accountants, surgeons to teachers and specialists in agriculture, horticulture and viticulture. This also includes the medical professionals at the front line of cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the world leading researchers striving for cancer cures.
“As well as the role universities play in underpinning research that keeps our economy moving, they also provide our economy with the skilled workforce it needs to thrive. This is critical because we know – as the Leader of the Opposition indicated in his speech – that nine out of ten new jobs in the next four years will require either a university degree or a TAFE qualification.
“This is why the Go8 has publicly joined with TAFE Directors Australia to push for a post-secondary sector which meets these needs with all players critical to the outcome.
“It is also why the Go8, which spends some $6.4 billion annually on research, is urging an incoming government – whomever it may be – to reinstate both the $3.9 billion Education Investment Fund, which has been redirected in this week’s budget to support a new Emergency Response Fund – and the Endeavour Leadership Program which was also terminated this week by the Coalition Government.
“Universities have proven they can be relied upon. Our 27 years of economic growth in Australia has been underpinned by one of the world’s best higher education and research systems. Yet despite this the Government has failed to back the sector in a year of budget surplus.
“Labor has set out unequivocally that in Government it would make science and research front and centre of its decision-making processes,” said Ms Thomson.
“With a Federal election due to be called within days, the Go8 will be looking for sound policies underpinned by funding that supports the nation’s research effort so that we can continue to support jobs and the economy.”
Contact : Vicki Thomson Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 417 808 472