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Budget delivers strong investment for universities and research
Treasurer Wayne Swan's 2009 Budget contained good news for universities and their staff and students. The total commitment over four years is in the order of $6 billion.Tonight's Budget provided for a 2.5% increase in core learning and teaching grants and introduced more sustainable indexation for university grants.Julia Gillard has high expectations of what universities can and should deliver - increasing the number of graduates, lifting the participation rates of disadvantaged students, improving student retention rates and providing a more engaging and supportive student educational experience.The key initiatives announced by the Government include: Substantial increases in infrastructure funding ($3 billion) Phasing in full cost funding of research ($512 million) Revised indexation for university grants ($578 million) Initiatives to improve participation of disadvantaged students ($433 million) Structural adjustment funding ($402 million) Improved student income support Increased stipends for research students ($51.7 million)Tonight's Budget provides an increase in core teaching and learning grants and introduces more sustainable indexation for university grants for the first time."Universities will be better placed to provide a quality education for the next generation of highly skilled workers, a critical part of the nation building agenda. It means that the Australian economy will reap the rewards of increased investment in higher education," NTEU National President, Dr Carolyn Allport, said tonight."Universities, staff and students have high expectations that this Government will deliver on its promises of an Education Revolution, and provide the necessary resources to enable universities to reduce student:staff ratios and the reliance on casual teaching staff. While it will take some time to absorb all of the detail, this Budget is a significant step in the right direction," Dr Allport said."NTEU is disappointed that the Budget failed to provide any specific funding aimed at addressing the workforce development issues being confronted by our universities as a consequence of their ageing academic workforce. Human capital is as important as infrastructure in sustaining universities over the long term. We trust that the Government will seriously address these pressing issues in the near future."
For more information or comment please contact:Dr Carolyn Allport, NTEU National President, 0419 349 064Paul Kniest, Policy and Research Coordinator, 0418 170 622