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Speech ... at the opening of the Advanced Engineering Centre for Manufacturing, Melbourne University, 11 am, 18 March 1994



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SPEECH BY

THE HON. SIMON CREANjMP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING

AT THE

OPENING OF THE ADVANCED^ ENGINEERING? CENTRE FOR MANUFACTURING

MELBOURNE UNIVERSITY

11 AM, 18 MARCH 1994

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I HAVE ΒΕξΝ A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL SINCE ITS INCEPTION. AT

THE TIME JHIS DECISION WAS TAKEN ONE OF THE KEY IMPEDIMENTS

IDENTIFIED BY INDUSTRY SEEKING TO DIVERSIFY, INCLUDING

f o r e ig n Co m p a n ie s s e e k in g t o e x p a n d in A u s t r a l ia , w a s t h e

LACK OF AN ADVANCED ENGINEERING CAPACITY HERE.

IN PROCEEDING WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ADVANCED

ENGINEERING CENTRES PROGRAM, THE GOVERNMENT WAS

RESPONDING TO A NEED CLEARLY IDENTIFIED BY INDUSTRY

THE CENTRE FOR MANUFACTURING HAS BEEN STRUCTURED WITH

THIS IN MIND. ITS MISSION IS TO CO-OPERATE WITH INDUSTRY IN

THE DEVELOPMENT AND APPUCATION OF ENGINEERING AND

MANAGEMENT SKILLS, ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES AND PRODUCTIVE

SYSTEMS V^HICH WILL BUILD AND SUSTAIN WORLD CLASS

MANUFACTURING ENTERPRISES

THE CENTRE'S PROGRAM WILL ASSIST INDUSTRIES TO DEVELOP

INTERNATIONALLY COMPETITIVE PRACTICES, PRODUCTS,

PROCESSES AND MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS. THE CENTRE WILL PUT

AUSTRALIA f T THE LEADING EDGE IN MANUFACTURING

TECHNOLOGY.

... , .

I

IN RECENT YEARS, THE GOVERNMENT HAS ENCOURAGED GREATER

CO-OPERATION BETWEEN INDUSTRY AND HIGHER EDUCATION

RESEARCH AND HAS SPECIFICALLY TARGETED COLLABORATION

WITH INDUSTRY IN SOME OF ITS RESEARCH FUNDING PROGRAMS.

THE GOVERNMENT IS KEEN TO ENCOURAGE GREATER

COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE TWO SECTORS

SO THAT O U ti BEST TALENTS AND EXPERTISE CAN BE ENGAGED IN

WORKING FOR THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT OF INDUSTRY AND

ENTERPRISE FfERFORMANCE.

I AM ALREADY ON THE PUBLIC RECORD, SINCE TAKING UP THE

PORTFOLIO EARLIER THIS YEAR, CALLING FOR A GREATER CO­

OPERATIVE EFFORT BETWEEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND INDUSTRY.

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COLLABORATION BETWEEN RESEARCHER ORGANISATIONS AND

INDUSTRY WILL ASSIST THIS ENDEAVOUR AND ENCOURAGE

INNOVATION,

THIS CENTRE IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT A PARTNERSHIP CAN

ACHIEVE. IT IS NOT GOVERNMENT DICTATING TO INDUSTRY OR THE

UNIVERSITIES BUT THROUGH SPECIFIC FUNDING, FACILITATING A

SOLUTION TO AN IDENTIFIED IMPEDIMENT AND BRINGING THE KEY

PLAYERS TOGETHER TO TACKLE IT.

IN THEIR RECENT POLICY DOCUMENT, AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES:

PARTNERS IN AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE, THE AUSTRALIAN VICE­ CHANCELLORS COMMITTEE CALLED FOR A PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN

GOVERNMENT AND UNIVERSITIES.

I WELCOME THIS. HOWEVER, ONE COULD BE EXCUSED IN READING

THE VICE-CHANCELLORS PRESS RELEASE THAT WHAT THEY ARE

SEEKING IS A PARTNERSHIP IN WHICH THE COMMONWEALTH

PROVIDES MORE FUNDING AND THE UNIVERSITIES PROVIDE LESS

SCRUTINY OVER THE WAY IN WHICH IT IS SPENT.

THERE IS A BALANCE TO BE ACHIEVED HERE.

THE COMMONWEALTH RECOGNISES THE AUTONOMY OF OUR - -UNIVERSITIES BUT IT PROVIDES FUNDING OF ALMOST $5 BILLION A

YEAR FOR UNIVERSITIES, IN 1994 COMMONWEALTH FUNDING FOR

UNIVERSITIES AMOUNTS TO $4,9 BILLION AND WE HAVE ALREADY

MADE A FORWARD COMMITMENT OF $4.9 BILLION IN 1995 AND OVER

$5 BILLION IN 1996.

THE BALANCE TO BE ACHIEVED IS BETWEEN INSTITUTIONAL

AUTONOMY AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC FUNDS.

IN DEVELOPING POLICY FOR THE HIGHER EDUCATION, I AM

PREPARED TO WORK WITH ALL PARTIES WITHIN THE SECTOR:

STUDENTS, THE ACADEMIC AND GENERAL STAFF, AS WELL AS THE

VICE-CHANCELLORS

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MORE IMPORTANTLY THE COMMITTEE FOUND THAT "THE HIGHER

EDUCATION SYSTEM IS MADE UP OF A DIVERSE RANGE OF

INSTITUTIONS, ALL OF WHICH ARE STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE

WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THEIR MISSION AND GOALS".

THE NEXT ROUND WILL FOCUS ON TEACHING AND LEARNING.

THE QUALITY COMMITTEE WILL BE FORWARDING ITS GUIDELINES

FOR THE 1994 ROUND SHORTLY. I WILL BE TAKING A KEEN INTEREST

IN THEIR DEVELOPMENT.

IN SUMMING UP I THINK WE HAVE A HIGH QUALITY HIGHER

EDUCATION SYSTEM WHICH IS CAPABLE OF RESPONDING TO THE

CHALLENGES, SOCIAL, INTELLECTUAL AND ECONOMIC, WHICH ARE

BEFORE US.

INVESTMENT AND CO-OPERATION BETWEEN UNIVERSITIES,

INDUSTRY AND GOVERNMENT CAN ONLY ENHANCE THE INNOVATION

AND COMPETITIVENESS OF AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY THUS

GENERATING MORE ENTERPRISE, MORE EMPLOYMENT, AND MORE

WEALTH.

THANKYOU