Federal Budget 2023

10 May 2023

The Federal Budget handed down by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night delivered significant cost of living relief for worthy Australians, including many thousands of students.

Universities play a central role in laying the foundations for a fairer and more inclusive Australia, starting with providing people with the skills they need for work.

This is a considered Budget which has targeted urgent areas of need; it boosts income support for students; provides additional university places and breaks down barriers for anyone wanting to get a university education. ATN Universities sees this as a crucial down payment on building a fairer go and providing the ability for people to participate in our economy.

ATN and our member universities have long called for better support for students and are relieved that the Federal Government has listened. The increase in support payments is long overdue and absolutely welcome, as is the increased support for students with disability to access and succeed at university.

It is also pleasing to see key investment in areas of teaching, nursing, psychology and early childhood education, where there are currently critical shortages. This will go a long way to help ensure that Australia has adequate supply of these much-needed skills.

The additional 4,000 university places for STEM disciplines to support the AUKUS program will ensure universities are central to the strengthening of Australia’s defence capability.

The Budget has also laid the foundations for a highly skilled and advanced economy by making key scalable investments to develop industries such as quantum technologies, artificial intelligence and critical minerals. Initiatives like the Industry Growth Program will turbocharge these industries by backing SMEs and startups.

We also strongly welcome the more than $5 billion investment to enable the new national skills agreement, additional fee-free VET and TAFE places, and further support for foundation skills programs and apprenticeships.

ATN has also noted the Government’s commitment to its second tranche of the 20,000 additional university places in 2024, of which one in four will be delivered by our universities.

Of course, this just the beginning – there is still more to do through the Universities Accord. This will be game-changing reform which will give us the opportunity to put equity at the heart of our system.