New figures reveal the University of Newcastle will lose an additional $79 million if the Turnbull Government’s planned changes to university enabling programs proceed.
The figures were provided by the university’s Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen in response to a Question on Notice in the Senate inquiry into the government’s legislation. They measure the impact of the proposed tendering process as well as lower demand for enabling courses and a resulting decrease in the take up of undergraduate places.
These losses are in addition to Government’s proposed ‘efficiency dividend’ including cuts to base funding which is expected to cost the University of Newcastle $100 million over a decade.
Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the Turnbull Government’s proposed changes would be devastating for the university, for students and the region.
“The Turnbull Government’s plan to cap places, open up enabling courses to the private sector and charges fees in excess of $3,000 will drive prospective students away, particularly those that we know benefit most from enabling programs,” Ms Claydon said.
“There are tens of thousands of people from our region that simply wouldn’t have degrees now if it weren’t for the University of Newcastle’s exceptional enabling programs. The Government’s changes put this incredible track record at risk.”
Ms Claydon said while the Government’s plan would save very little money, it would hinder the success of the Newcastle-Hunter region’s social and economic transition.
“The economic diversity of a region is a key contributor to its long-term development and sustainability. The University and its enabling programs have a big role to play in this,” Ms Claydon said.
“Enabling programs are an important way of increasing participation in higher education and ensuring we have the local skill base to capitalise on the opportunities of the 21st century economy.
“This story is about more than the financial hit to the University of Newcastle if the Turnbull Government’s changes proceed. It’s about stifling the productivity of our region by removing pathways for people to fulfil their potential.”
Ms Claydon said the government was cutting funding from higher education so it can pay for its $65 billion worth of tax cuts to big business.
“Investment in education is what Australia really needs if we are to drive jobs and growth, not a cash splash for corporate Australia!”