NTEU Media Release: University Cuts Ignore the Need to Invest in Education to Lift Flagging Productivity
The $640 million plus in savings in relation to higher education programs announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan today are short-sighted, counterproductive and ignore the pressing need to invest in education in order to lift Australia’s flagging level of productivity.
“After over a decade of real cuts to public investment in education, our universities are reaching breaking point,” said Jeannie Rea, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) President.”
“The cuts announced today going to make this situation worse for university staff and students.”
“They also run completely counter to the need for the government to invest in education in order to lift Australia’s flagging level of productivity.”
“People in the higher education sector have the right to feel annoyed by these funding cuts, which come on top of the disproportionately high cut in funding universities took to help finance the recovery costs of the Queensland floods at the beginning of the year.”
The $10 billion in saving measures required to bring the Commonwealth Budget into surplus, announced by the Treasurer today, include:
- $240 million in savings over four years by cutting reward funding related yet to be developed learning and teaching performance indicators for universities.
- $400 million in savings to be paid for by future Mathematics and Science students whose HECS fees will increase from $4500 a year to over $8,000 a year from 2013.
“While NTEU has been critical of both measures, with some innovative thinking both could have been made more effective,” said Ms Rea.
“Discounting HECS may have been a highly cost ineffective way of attracting only a small number of additional students to study maths and science.”
“We strongly believe any savings made from cutting this measure should be reinvested into finding other ways of attracting more students into maths and science.”
“While NTEU has been highly critical of the yet to be developed and unproven performance indicators the Government had proposed for the distribution of learning and teaching reward funding, we are strongly opposed to cutting of the $240 million over four years.”
“Instead of using performance based funding as a reward for demonstrated outcomes, it should be used as an incentive for improvement.”
For further information and comment:
Jeannie Rea, NTEU President: 0434 609 531 or 9254 1910
Andrew Nette, NTEU National Media Officer: 0431 217 131