Universities ignored in Budget

No money and not much hope

The government will provide $26.1m for 5000 more short course places. Plus there are $150 000 grants for ELICOS providers to transform their operating models.

And that is the upside.

The downside is a decline in HE expenditure from $10.628bn this financial year to $10.2 bn in 23-24, before rising to $10.339bn in ’24-25.

It’s a bit better for VET. Direct expenditure is a straight-line down , from $2.022bn now to $1.644bn in ’24-25 but there is $506m over two years for the Job Trainer programme and $2.7bn over four years for more apprentices.

And don’t expect many international students this year, “small phased programmes for international students will commence in late 2021 and gradually increase from 2022.”

As for science, there’s $117m over for years for an “Artificial Intelligence Action Plan,”  $66m for cyber-security workforce skills and a “science and technology diplomacy fund” (without specified funding).

And last year’s emergency injection of $1bn research funding, to compensate for the loss of international student fees is not continued.

What about translational research?  The winners are in labs working on digital games, which  might qualify for the 30 per cent Digital Games Tax Offset.

But, and it is a very feint but, the Treasurer did talk-up industry-university collaboration on ABC TV, which may mean more money in the research translation strategy expected at year end. And there is a hint of hope in the $30 000 increase for PhD completion funding when undertaken as an industry placement.

But it’s just a hint.

Scroll down for reaction