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Labor again talking down Australia: this time it's our universities.



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MEDIA STATEMENT DR DAVID KEMP, MP Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs K240 27 September 2001

LABOR AGAIN TALKING DOWN AUSTRALIA - THIS TIME IT’S OUR UNIVERSITIES

The Senate majority report Universities in Crisis, released today, serves only to run down the reputation of our higher education institutions.

The choice of title alone is a grossly irresponsible act. It is a wholly partisan report that flies in the face of the facts: namely, that Australian universities are enjoying record revenues of $9.5 billion, record enrolments and record levels of graduate satisfaction.

There are 23,000 more domestic undergraduate places at universities than there were in 1996. Over the next 5 years, there will be an additional 28,000 places through Backing Australia’s Ability and the regional places initiative, as well as another 30,000 places through the Postgraduate Education Loans Scheme.

Not one Vice-Chancellor who appeared before the committee inquiry alleged that their university was in crisis or that its standards were falling.

The Australian community will not be soft-marking this report, but rather will give it the grade it deserves - F for FAIL.

While only a minority in Australia will share the narrow and biased view of these senators, there is a potential to harm our lucrative education export market.

Education exports are the third largest service export industry in Australia, with an estimated contribution to the Australian economy in 2000 of $3.7 billion. In that year alone, education exports created about 14,000 jobs.

Just this week, the Australian Vice-Chancellor’s Committee warned that Australia faces stiff competition for students from the UK, the USA and Canada. The irresponsible and inaccurate statements in this report give no aid to the Australian cause.

This report reveals the desperation of an opposition that has not proposed an education policy for nearly a decade.

Media: Catherine Job 02 6277 7460 or 0408 648 400