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Media release: Accord Interim Report will drive debate to shape our higher education sector

July 19, 2023

The Universities Accord is a once in a generation opportunity to shape a higher education ecosystem capable of delivering equitable solutions to the challenges we face and underpin Australia’s future prosperity.

Education Minister Jason Clare has rightly called for big, bold, spiky ideas to be considered during the Accord process, an ambition supported by the Group of Eight in its own submission to the Universities Accord.

The interim report includes challenging and thought-provoking options to sense-test novel ideas, provoke meaningful debate and expert policy-driven discussion.

However, in assessing the options and ‘spiky’ ideas, we must be mindful to avoid the risk that proposals, such as a levy on international students, don’t undermine our nation’s hard-won and enduring successes in areas such as our global strength in international education.

The Australian higher education system has an international reputation for delivering world-class education for both domestic and international students. We must ensure that the Accord process does not have unintended consequences that impact our global reputation.

The Go8 will review the interim report in detail and engage collaboratively with the Accord team to develop a seamless tertiary sector, with equity, opportunity and research at the core.

A number of options listed for consideration, including the establishment of a Tertiary Education Commission, reforms to replace Job Ready Graduates, and creating a sustainable research environment align with the Go8 submission.

The Go8 will continue to advocate for big picture reforms including major reform of research funding and a bipartisan national research strategy. This will give universities certainty in research and research infrastructure investments, boost our global reputation for research excellence and help Australia retain and attract the world’s best and brightest. Research is fundamental to our prosperity and national well-being, key to the future of Australia’s university sector and the success of the Accord.

The Accord must position Australia to be a prosperous, innovative country, one which leverages our substantial knowledge capability and competes with the world’s best, while at the same time ensuring our future students are, at all times front and centre of policy development.

The Go8 represents Australia’s world class research-intensive universities – with six ranked in the world’s top 50 universities and all eight in the top 100. Go8 universities carry out 70 per cent of Australian university research and have an annual research budget of $7.7bn.

Contact: Dr Matthew Brown, Group of Eight Deputy Chief Executive on +61 422 937 663