The CRC programme lost $20m funding in the budget, but CMM understands at least $15m stayed in the extended family. Word is the money will continue the work of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, which winds-up mid-year. With an Antarctic centre first starting at the University of Tasmania in 1991 this wasn’t a bad run, considering lesser CRCs are time-limited to ten years. But Antarctic advocates can make more noise than a plucked penguin when aggrieved which maybe why CRC-like work will go on.
If correct, this decision demonstrates a cross-portfolio determination to avoid what Ralph Waldo Emerson nearly warnd against, “a foolish policy consistency – the hobgoblin of little minds.” Over in education, the government will not fund any increase for undergraduate places until 2020 and from then funding will depend on universities meeting as yet unspecified performance measures. But new places are already announced at the University of the Sunshine Coast, at Southern Cross U and, good lord, at the University of Tasmania.
For CRCs where time is nearly up, as at universities with plans for immediate growth, let the lobbying begin.