17 August 2022

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) is pleased that the Albanese Government has placed educational opportunity at the centre of their plans for Australia’s economic and social recovery with the announcement of an additional 20,000 university places today.

ATN is strongly supportive of the Government’s objective to ensure these new places will be targeted to key areas where skills shortages are most acute, while also providing more opportunity for students from under-represented backgrounds to meet their aspirations.

ATN has long advocated that Australia’s universities have a key role in addressing our labour and skills shortage as well as building opportunity for Australians regardless of their background or circumstance.

A targeted approach to the allocation of these additional 20,000 places will not only ensure more Australians can get a job but it will also mean more Australians from under-represented backgrounds will have the opportunity of a world-class education.

Before the election ATN, in collaboration with the Innovative Research Universities grouping, urged the next government to increase investment in university places to deal with our skills challenges as well as driving more equity and participation in the system.

Today’s announcement is a significant shift toward building a more responsive and inclusive higher education system.

With 90 per cent of new jobs over the next five years requiring a tertiary qualification, it is timely that universities will be included in the Jobs and Skills Summit next month.

Three-way partnerships between industry, universities and government will become increasingly important in taking full advantage of the productivity enablers needed for Australia’s economic recovery.

In our recent paper with Ai Group we advocated for a three-way partnership approach to ensure Australia has the right policy settings in skills, education and immigration to ensure we continue access to the best and brightest workers from Australia and around the world to help build our future prosperity.


Quotes attributable to ATN Chair, Professor Iain Martin:

“ATN universities warmly welcomes the Government’s delivery of this critically important election commitment of 20,000 additional university places.

“Our universities have consistently argued that the best way to drive Australia’s future prosperity is to ensure we have a strong and inclusive higher education sector that works closely with government and industry, underpinned by both excellence and equity.

“With over 50 per cent of all new jobs being created requiring a university qualification, it is welcome news that universities will play a role in next month’s Jobs and Skills Summit.”


Quotes attributable to ATN Executive Director, Mr Luke Sheehy

“ATN universities have a long and proud tradition of ensuring students from all backgrounds and circumstances have the opportunity of a world-class education.

“For ATN, equity comes hand in hand with excellence and we warmly welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring these new university places will go to students from under-represented groups including First Nations Australians, students from poorer backgrounds and students from regional and remote Australia.

“As ATN said before the election, three-way partnerships between government, industry and educators have the capacity to deliver bold and innovative policy ideas that will help shape and foster our future prosperity.”