Labor welcomes news today that Australia has 16 universities in the top 100 and seven in the top 50 in the 2015 Times Higher Education Top 100 Under 50 rankings.
These rankings are yet another piece of evidence that there is no crisis in Australian universities – and certainly no justification for the Liberals’ plan for deregulation and $100,000 degrees.
The fact is that both older and younger Australian universities are continuing to hold their own and improve their global reputations.
The biggest threats to Australia’s universities are the Abbott Government’s determination to cut funding for student places by 20 per cent and its complete lack of commitment to science and research in this country.
Under the former Labor Government, university funding was scheduled to more than double in real terms between 2007 and 2017.
We put a focus on excellence in university research – the critical factor that underpins the global reputation of Australian institutions.
And we increased funding for science, research and innovation by 43 per cent – an investment that is paying dividends today.
Labor has consistently argued that the Liberals’ policies would put the quality and international reputation of Australian universities at risk.
Australia has some of the world’s best universities and the Abbott Government should be meeting its responsibility to fund them properly.
Instead, Christopher “the fixer” Pyne has indicated that more nasty surprises are in store in the upcoming Budget.
Universities are rightly concerned that the Abbott Government will strip universities of research funding in retaliation for the Senate’s refusal to support the Americanisation of Australian higher education.
Labor calls on the Abbott Government instead to reverse last year’s short-sighted $900 million funding cut to science and research, abandon its ideological plan for $100,000 degrees, and come up with a positive plan for the future of Australian universities and the broader innovation system.