The Group of Eight (Go8) – which represents Australia’s leading research-intensive universities – says it is an unconscionable attack when Government announces cuts of $328.4 million to Australian research; the nation’s lifeblood.
Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said that the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) cuts are “attacking, counterproductive, illogical and yet again put on display how much this Government devalues research and education.
“The $328.4 million cut – of which over $200 million is likely to be borne by the Go8 – is funding that supports world leading research, research there to better the lives of everyone in our community,” she said.
“This funding, now to be removed, literally keeps the lights on in Australia’s research labs and cutting it totally undermines Australian research and specifically initiatives such as the Medical Research Future Fund. It also sends a dreadful message about the political emphasis of Australia to the international research and investment communities.”
Ms Thomson said that it was difficult to interpret today’s announcement in any other way than as blatantly anti-research. “In a Budget that we are told is heading for surplus, the biggest decrease in Government payments is to Research Block Grants. This is even before taking into consideration $131.4 million in cuts that have ‘already been provided for by the Government’.
“MYEFO continues the debilitating historical trend of cuts to higher education and research which now seems to be independent of Budget cycles, and ignores the reality that research investment is essential to underpin Australia’s economic strength, and jobs – the health and wealth of Australia’s community.”