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Media statement: Go8 universities critical to facing intergenerational challenges

The Group of Eight (Go8) acknowledges the important role Australia’s higher education sector must play in meeting the challenges outlined today by the Federal Treasurer in the 2021 Intergenerational Report.

“Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has highlighted three central challenges facing future generations of Australians: our rapidly ageing population, the increasing pressure this will place on the Government’s Budget, and that Australia’s economic growth will continue to be dependent on productivity gains. 

“Universities can and must play a fundamental role in supporting the Australian Government and the broader community as we manage these intergenerational challenges,” said Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.

The Go8 represents Australia’s leading research-intensive universities and undertakes almost 70% of Australian university research activity.  Universities play a critical role in lifting Australia’s productivity, through higher education but also technological research, world changing breakthroughs and the commercialisation of research.

“Universities are also vital to Australia’s future as they undertake complex medical research and train the medical and aged cared workforce specialists. As our population ages more rapidly, this is key to improving the quality of life for older Australians. With the Treasurer projecting that health spending will grow from 4.1 to 6.2 per cent of GDP by 2060, it is important that our research and training in this area is world class and delivers value for taxpayers and the Australian community.

“Go8 university education and research are also at the cutting edge of new energy technology and digital technology – and the skills needed to roll it out – that the Treasurer rightfully identifies will boost the productivity and wages for future generations, even as the fiscal pressures from an ageing population increase,” said Ms Thomson.

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