Go8 Media Release: Group of Eight Universities a "top 30 company"

10 Mar 2016
Group of Eight Universities a “top 30 company”

If the Group of Eight (Go8) was a company it would be in Australia’s top 30.  The Go8 has set out its business strengths at a reception at Parliament House Canberra.

“For the benefit of our students and our researchers, we consider it important that our business strengths, our economic voice was heard, and we intend to keep promoting this position,” says Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson.
It does need to be recognised that the Go8 supports 50,000 jobs – meaning we have more employees than either of the Commonwealth or  National Australia banks, and also more employees in Australia than BHP Billiton.

“We have $21 Billion in net assets, we earn $12 Billion a year and we have $7.2 Billion invested.In total the Go8 is a business and economic force to be reckoned with,” she said.

"The Go8 represents a complex and sophisticated company with multiple business streams. We produce 90,000 quality graduates each year, as well as world-leading fundamental research that not only underpins Australia’s
reputation as a destination of choice for international students – an $18 billion industry – but also makes the Go8 the go-to partners for industry R&D and innovation."

Ms Thomson said that if Australian peak business organisations operated as some in the UK do, the Go8 would have a seat and a  voice at, for example, the Business Council of Australia (BCA)  table. We see that as something worth pursuing because of our large domestic and export contributions to the economy. Our export earnings in 2014 were $2.2 Billion.

“Importantly we make this contribution with far less taxpayer funding than is the popular view. It is almost an urban myth that we are 100% reliant on Government funds. It is not generally understood that in fact only 16% of ourrevenue comes from direct Government funding for teaching students, while our total revenue from direct government funding (which includes funding for research) is just 41% across the Go8.”

Ms Thomson said the Go8 was keen to have the higher education sector far better represented as a business strength and an economic voice. “Given what we deliver to the economy (and the nation’s exports) and that our ight Vice Chancellors are the Chief Executives of billion dollar businesses, Universities are rarely offered a seat at the table for economic debate and lobbying,  yet as the figures show, the Go8 alone is a top 30 company.”

Media contact: Go8 Chief Executive Vicki Thomson 0417 808 472

Note: The Go8 is Australia’s premier group of research intensive universities, consistently the highest ranked in Australia and with seven of its eight members in the world’s top 100. The Go8 educates 26% of Australia’s students. One in three international students who choose to come to Australia study at a Go8 university. It receives $2.5 Billion in research funding, two thirds of research funding to Australian Universities, and each year it spends some $6 Billion on research.