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UNIVERSITIES STILL KEY TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY

11 May 2021

The Australian Technology Network of Universities (ATN) and The University of Newcastle acknowledge the significant measures in the 2021-2022 Federal Budget designed to drive Australia’s economic recovery but we believe the Government missed an opportunity to put universities at the centre of its approach.

Investing in human capital is the right path forward for Australia. Universities play a critical role in providing the economy with the highly skilled workforce it needs to grow.

If we are to succeed, Australia needs a strong and growing university sector to both underwrite our economic recovery and build the sovereign capabilities the pandemic has highlighted.

ATN acknowledges the record investment in university research in last year’s Budget. This was a worthy investment in discovery research and research with impact. Ensuring the funding system supports a strong and sustainable research and commercialisation ecosystem is vital. We look forward to further announcements from the Government on research sustainability measures as well the critically important area of research commercialisation later this year.

ATN is disappointed that the Government has not built on its successful investment in innovative and industry-linked university-delivered short courses. We hope that the Government reconsiders this, acknowledging that these short courses have been meeting significant latent demand.

ATN welcomes the Government’s signalling in the Budget that international students could start returning as early as this year.
Despite the Australian economy beginning to recover, the toughest years for international education are still ahead of us and this is only exacerbated the longer the borders remain closed.

ATN universities and The University of Newcastle, teach nearly 100,000 international students and we look forward to welcoming students from all over the world as soon it is practical to do so.

Quotes attributable to ATN Chair, Professor Iain Martin:
“Universities, alongside VET and TAFE providers, are critical in supporting the Government’s aim of boosting skills and creating jobs.

“More than 50 per cent of new jobs will require a higher education qualification.

“ATN is disappointed that the Government has not built on its successful investment in innovative and industry-linked university-delivered short courses. We hope that the Government reconsiders this, acknowledging that these short courses have been meeting significant latent demand.”

Quotes attributable to ATN Executive Director, Mr Luke Sheehy:
“International education is one of Australia’s great success stories with the benefits flowing throughout the economy and we look forward to welcoming students back as early as this year.

“ATN universities know that once Australia’s borders are opened the long hard road to recovery for our sector has only just commenced.”