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Higher eduction funding fallacy exposed

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Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Senator the Hon. Amanda Vanstone Senator for South Australia

V I04/97 10 June 1997


Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Senator Amanda Vanstone has welcomed comments by Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee head Professor Fay Gale admitting that funding for universities was capped.

“The idea of ‘higher education cuts’ became firmly established in media reports last year well before the Budget was brought down,” Senator Vanstone said.

“However, when the Budget finally came, the savings were achieved through increasing student contributions.

“I welcome Professor Gale’s comments in The Australian today that education funds were capped at current levels. This is first time Professor Gale has actually admitted this.

“The only change in funding to universities was the removal of promised growth in the forward estimates.

“Labor’s forward estimates are not a credible base against which education expenditure can be measured.

“Labor’s forward estimates were no more than unsigned cheques on an empty bank account.

“Between 1996 and 1999 total funding for universities is stabilised at around $5.4 billion.

“I can understand that Professor Gale and the universities would have preferred to have had continuing growth in funds provided by Government, but I am pleased to see that there is at last a recognition of the reality of funding decisions made last year.”

Further information: Christian Kerr, Minister’s Office, 08 8237 7946