Cutting Higher Education to fund flood relief is shortsighted
The higher education sector has been unfairly targeted to help fund the Federal Government’s $5.6b expenditure to rebuild areas affected by the recent floods.
“The abolition of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) and the Capital Development Program to make savings of nearly $400 million in forward estimates is short sighted economic and political management”, Jeannie Rea, National Tertiary Education Union President said today.
“While the NTEU fully understands the urgency of rebuilding flood affected areas and supports the levy, we question the wisdom of cuts to investment in other important nation building areas. Around 13% of the proposed spending cuts are coming from our universities, with climate change programs suffering even greater cuts.”
“The abolition of the ALTC, which supports the continuous improvement of quality in university teaching through research, award and grant programs, is at odds with the Government’s often stated commitment to improving teaching standards and student outcomes.”
“While the environment is the biggest loser, our universities will find it more difficult to meet the Government’s ambitious higher education participation targets. This decision raises serious questions about the Gillard Government’s rhetoric on the critical importance of education to Australia’s economic and social future, particularly in regional Australia.”
“The loss of $300m in capital development funding will impact especially heavily on regional universities who have been the major recipients of this funding in recent years.
“The NTEU is asking the Prime Minister to reconsider asking our universities to make a disproportionately high contribution to the rebuilding effort and consider funding this unanticipated expenditure through the extension of the budget deficit for another year or two”.
“What is more important”, Jeannie Rea asked, “a small deficit by international standards or investment in our country’s future?”
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Statement from the ALTC:
Jeannie Rea, NTEU President, 03 9254 1910, 0434 609 531, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Kniest, NTEU Policy and Research Coordinator, 03 9254 1010, 0418 170 622, email@example.com