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Media release: Universities Accord Must Drive Real and Lasting Reform

The Group of Eight looks forward to contributing to the development of the Australian Universities Accord to deliver a university sector that can meet the 21st century needs of Australia.

Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said the accord was an opportunity to address systemic reform – to consider genuine funding reform so government and taxpayers get the best possible value, and to review legislative and regulatory barriers impacting the higher education sector.

“Australia is facing significant challenges and it is higher education and research that will shape the future of the nation more than any other sector. The accord is intended to drive lasting and sustainable reform in an economic environment that demands tough decisions.”

“What we need is a contest of innovative ideas to ensure we have the right policy framework so Australia can prosper in the future.  The accord provides a window to reframe Australia’s higher education sector and lift the bar. And if we miss this opportunity the repercussions will not be just to the sector, but to all of Australia.”

“While we need a long-term sustainable plan for Australia’s university sector to lay the necessary groundwork for future generations and future success, there are some quick fix options that will deliver immediate wins for the higher education sector.”

“For example, the Go8 raised concerns about the previous government’s Job-ready Graduates (JRG) package from the outset.  The JRG has acted as an impediment to skills creation particularly in relation to STEM courses, such as engineering and IT, which are already experiencing critical shortages. Australia cannot afford to waste our limited resources on policies that have proven to be ineffective.”

“The Go8 welcomes the appointment of Professor Mary O’Kane AC and the expert panel to develop the Universities Accord. I look forward to building on a strong and successful working relationship with Professor O’Kane whose higher education sector expertise will steer the accord process in the right direction.”

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155