CQU bears brunt of funding freeze
IN an explosive revelation, regional universities are predicted to bear the brunt of the Federal Government’s funding freeze, with CQUniversity faring the worst.
An ABC investigation citing government figures showed regional universities (down 7%) fared twice as badly as their capital city counterparts (down 3.5%).
CQ faces the worst impact out of all of Australia’s universities, with base funding about 15 per cent lower, equating to a loss of almost $150m.
Disappointed CQ University Vice Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman (right) said the freeze was “a tax on success” that punished his university for rapid growth.
This would in turn force his university to scale back on sport activities, careers advice, and psychological support services to students.
Labor has slammed the Federal Government’s approach to university funding, with Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Tanya Plibersek, taking aim at Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “When will Michelle Landry stand up against Malcolm Turnbull’s devastating uni cuts?” Ms Plibersek asked.
“Malcolm Turnbull says he can’t find the money to properly fund universities. But he can find $80 billion to give away to big business and the banks. His priorities are all wrong.”
Ms Plibersek pointed out Ms Landry supported cuts to education by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Turnbull’ and accused her of not standing up for the local community.
“She just can’t be trusted with something as important as education – she can’t be trusted with your family’s future,” she said.
Labor’s candidate for Capricornia Russell Robertson said CQU was “a vital, current and necessary part of our region”.
“We are looking at a cut as high as 15 per cent in funding to CQU, a lot higher than other other areas, but where is Ms Landry and Mr Turnbull?” Mr Robertson asked.
Ms Landry said she thought it was wrong to say that there had been a cut.
“By freezing one stream of federal funding, the Turnbull Government is not reducing the funding for universities but rather managing the rate of growth to ensure it is sustainable,” she said.
“I think it’s important to look at the big picture with this and to note that over recent years per-student funding grew by 15 per cent yet costs for universities to deliver courses only jumped by 9.5 per cent.
“This highlights that universities can find efficiencies within their budgets without impacting on students.”
Mr Birmingham said his government was sending a clear message to universities that taxpayers expected them to find saving in areas such as marketing, administration, or non-core activities that did not impact on students.