Senate rejects $3.5 billion university infrastructure cut

The Senate today rejected a $3.5 billion cut to higher education infrastructure by saving the Education Investment Fund (EIF) from the Abbott Government’s chopping block.

Labor moved an amendment to retain the EIF which the Senate accepted.

The Government had sought to raid the $3.5 billion EIF to provide almost 60 per cent of the seed funding for its Asset Recycling Fund.

The demolition of EIF would have been additional to the planned $5.8 billion in cuts to universities and student support announced in the Budget.

EIF provides funding for projects that create or develop significant infrastructure in higher education and research, and vocational education and training institutions.

Getting rid of this fund would have been a massive blow to long-term, sustainable support for infrastructure for teaching and research at Australia’s universities, TAFEs and research agencies.

To date, the fund has been responsible for 71 infrastructure projects worth $2.4 billion, including more than $640 million for pure research infrastructure.

Today the Senate voted to accept Labor’s amendment to the Asset Recycling Fund Bill, thereby saving the EIF.

This followed the Senate’s rejection on Tuesday of a proposed $435 million cut by the Abbott Government to Australia’s universities.

This is another excellent outcome for our universities and their research infrastructure, as well as for vocational education and training.

The attempt to demolish the EIF was yet another ill-considered decision by a government that fails to grasp the importance of education and research infrastructure policy, not just to universities, but to our national wealth and economic performance.

THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014


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