Group of Eight slams levy on unis: “a demonstrably pernicious policy”

The Group of Eight has slammed a budget levy on universities for the cost of the Commonwealth administering the student loan scheme, calling it a “demonstrably pernicious policy a tax on public institutions dressed up as recouping administrative costs”.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry into the legislation involved the Group of Eight argues, “It is the equivalent of introducing a new tax on doctors, one levied for each patient they see, to assist government pay for the administrative costs of Medicare.”

CEO Vicki Thomson adds, consultation Education Minister Dan Tehan promised in parliament in September is yet to occur and the government only issued a statement on cost recovery at the end of October, although the legislation is set to apply from January. This is a particular problem for universities, in that the explanatory memorandum for one of the two bills refers to the charge differing according to provider size, without detail.

She also points to a discrepancy between the budget estimate of $30.7m to be produced across the forward estimates, and the October statement where the sum is $11.2m. “For a sector weary from successive cuts and unwelcome surprises, an explanation for such a serious difference between the budgeted revenue and the numbers put forward consistent in this bill is essential to allay – well based – concerns that additional cuts or taxes might be on the horizon,” she says.

The Innovative Research Universities group called last week on the Senate to block the enacting bills.


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education