Universities welcome Albanese government’s new ministry

3 June 2022

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Tim Dodd

Universities and other tertiary education institutions have welcomed the Albanese government’s new ministry which was sworn in on Wednesday, saying they look forward to working with ministers to solve Australia’s skill shortages and other challenges.

Jason Clare is the new Education Minister, Brendan O’Connor is the new Skills and Training Minister, and Ed Husic is the new Industry and Science Minister in the Albanese ministry which was sworn in on Wednesday. Anthony Chisholm is the new Assistant Education Minister.

Peak body Universities Australia congratulated Mr Clare on his appointment and said it looked forward to working with him to ensure all Australians could access a world-class education and realise their full potential.

“Minister Clare understands that universities are an essential part of an optimistic, productive, modern economy and society. The nation is facing some big challenges, but it can also seize big opportunities. Universities are ready to play their part,” said Universities Australia CEO Catriona Jackson.

The research intensive Group of Eight universities said they looked forward to collaborating with the Albanese government across a range of portfolios to improve the economy, and health and living standards of the community.

“The Group of Eight will work closely with all relevant government ministers to progress its series of policy recommendations developed with business and industry in the lead up to the federal election,” said CEO Vicki Thomson.

She said areas where universities could make a contribution included industry, employment, foreign affairs, defence and health through their research and collaboration.

“Research drives the prosperity of modern, engaged, successful countries and will be critical to finding effective solutions to the challenges increasingly impacting societies across the globe, such as climate change, global pandemics, skills shortages and national security, among others,” she said.

The Australian Technology Network of Universities said it was looking forward to working with Mr Clare to build a fairer and more inclusive higher education sector with opportunities for all.

“We have warmly welcomed Labor’s promises of 20,000 additional university places, the $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund, a universities accord, Startup Year, the Critical Technologies Fund, and the Australian Strategic Research Agency, said ATN executive director Luke Sheehy.

”We also look forward to working with Brendan O’Connor on closely integration of higher education with the skills and training sector.”

The Regional Universities Network said it “looks forward to working constructively with the new ministry to ensure areas of importance to regional, rural and remote Australia are progressed and that the importance of regional universities is reflected in higher education policy”.

“Regional universities provide opportunities to regional Australians that would otherwise be unavailable to them, alongside providing vital community services and impactful research,” said RUN chair Nick Klomp.

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia also welcomed the appointments.

“We look forward to working with ministers O’Connor and Clare as we look towards a more integrated tertiary education system, one in which the skills training and higher education sector operate as one yet retain their separate strengths and identities,” said ITECA CEO Troy Williams.

Science & Technology Australia welcomed the appointment of Ed Husic as Industry and Science Minister.

“Ed Husic has a long and distinguished track record in the Parliament working with the STEM sector and championing Australian science and technology,” said Science and Technology Australia chief executive officer Misha Schubert.

“We are delighted to see him given this crucial portfolio and look forward to continuing a productive relationship with him and his team on behalf of the 90,000 STEM professionals Science & Technology Australia represents.”