Submission: Go8 response to the Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education options paper

25 Jul 2016
The Group of Eight (Go8) welcomes the opportunity to provide input into the Government’s Driving Innovation, Fairness and Excellence in Australian Higher Education options paper released in May 2016.

Go8 members are Australia’s leading research intensive universities. In research we account for two-thirds of all research funding to universities and each year spend some $6 billion on research. Collectively we educate 26 percent of all students and we deliver Australia over 90,000 quality graduates each year.

This submission reinforces the five priority policy areas identified by the Go8 in its Priority Directions document released in June (see below) and also provides commentary on some specific options outlined in the Government’s paper.

Please note that the comments made in this document represent the broad views of the Go8; member universities may also make their own, more detailed submissions.

Priority Directions

The case for fundamental reform to a sector which generates $12 billion in export revenue and produced an estimated $140 billion spend in Australia in 2014 (latest available figures) has never been stronger.

The past five years especially have been years of policy drift, uncertainty and ad hoc funding cuts, so that the key challenges facing the sector have reached a level where they now pose a looming risk to the nation and a major export industry.

In this context, the Go8 welcomes the “big picture” scope of the current options paper as the start of a necessary dialogue with the Higher Education sector on how to fund and deliver world leading higher education deep into the 21st Century.

Long term, a fundamentally new, more coherent, balanced and transparent approach to higher education and research policy is needed, one that is underpinned by certainty and stability and no reduction in current funding levels.

It is this complex entanglement between higher education and research policy and funding that the Go8 Priority Directions document, released in June, tackles head on.

As outlined in Priority Directions a more sustainable system will recognise the economic and social impact of higher education, limit unreasonable fiscal exposure, better recognise the balance of public and private benefits and safeguard access and equity.

Please click here for the full submission.