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Media Release on 2011 Federal Budget: Regional unis benefit, but base funding still the issue

Posted 10 May 2011 by Jeannie Rea (NTEU National Office)

MEDIA RELEASE 9.00PM, 10 MAY 2011

REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES BENEFIT FROM BUDGET, BUT BASE FUNDING REMAINS THE ISSUE

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) says the Gillard Labor government’s first Budget delivered by Treasurer Wayne Swan tonight contained long overdue announcements in relation to regional universities.

Regional Loadings

“NTEU welcomes the Minister Evan’s announcement of the doubling ($109.9m) in funding for regional loadings,” Jeannie Rea, National President of NTEU said tonight.

“This announcement follows a comprehensive review of regional loadings undertaken by the Government in 2010, and in addition to the increased level of funding, includes a more logical and rational way of distributing the funding.”

“Regional loadings acknowledge the higher costs regional universities face in seeking to offer their students not only high quality education, but also to provide some choice in terms of programs and subjects offered.”

EIF Funding

"The Budget confirmed that $500m in Education Investment Fund would be prioritised for regional universities. While this announcement does not constitute additional funding it seals the deal done with the Government independent members of Parliament immediately after last year’s election.”

“The announcement is important because it provides greater clarity for regional universities in their planning and development.”

Funding growth in enrolments and indexation

“NTEU is relieved that the Government has fulfilled the commitment to increasing indexation and to funding the growth in enrolments over the next four years. Universities have already enrolled greater numbers of students in anticipation of the uncapping of places and it is hoped that these and future enrolments will now fully funded.”

“The greater access to higher education enabled by the expansion of university places and support of social inclusion strategies is supported by NTEU.”

“However, this does not address the inadequate base funding per student. The Government’s current review of base funding is due to report later this year. Consider the evidence of the adverse impact of underfunding to the maintenance of quality and international competitiveness; we expect the review to recommend increases in funding per student. The challenge for the Government will be how to adequately respond to calls for increased base funding with more student places to support.”

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Contacts:

Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President, 0434 609 531

Paul Kniest, NTEU Policy and Research Co-ordinator, 0418 170 622

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