With the government’s legislation to cut university funding expected in parliament this week the Group of Eight has a broadside for Simon Birmingham
“After weeks of misleading and disingenuous accusations against the university sector, Education Minister Simon Birmingham is showing total disregard and disrespect for higher education and the students the sector serves,” Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson says this morning.
Ms Thomson rejects the minister’s arguments that the sector is well-funded and can accommodate his proposed cuts and she warns that the government is ignoring the real problem universities face. “There is no good public policy direction here. This package does not address the fact that we have a broken funding model for our universities. It is desperate politics unbecoming of any government that suggests it supports higher education.”
The Group of Eight also warns cuts will force members to make “difficult choices” in allocating resources, including its hundreds of rural and regional health and medicine teaching and placement facilities, campuses and research centres.
With a vote imminent and no alternatives on the agenda the Eight’s outcry will have no negotiating impact on the government but it may influence Senator Nick Xenophon and his two Senate colleagues – who are widely expected to determine the outcome.