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University crisis: Nelson won't get real.

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Senator Kim Carr Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Science & Research

5/5/02 21/02


Education Minister Brendan Nelson refuses to get real about the crisis facing Australian universities, says Shadow Minister for Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr.

“This is another case of “new minister, new review,” said Senator Carr. “It does, however, provide an opportunity for universities to remind the government of its responsibilities to all public universities and the consequences of its failed policies.

“But the government’s profligacy has reduced Dr Nelson’s options. While he can no longer ignore community wide calls for greater public investment in higher education, he makes it clear that there will be no extra money. This is no way to fix the crisis.

“Educational diversity is important, but this must not be allowed to serve as code for a resource strategy that only intensifies the financial problems of most universities. If our national ambition to achieve world-class research strategies is to be realised, then this Government must acknowledge its responsibility to all universities.

“A vibrant and effective research culture cannot be sustained in isolation. Rather it depends on a soundly based system to underpin it,” Senator Carr said.

“It is clear that, in the face of crisis, the government plans to adopt the bankers’ solution: neglecting many universities in the system in the interests of a few privileged campuses. Yet the Government’s own figures reveal that a quarter of our universities are in financial deficit. And it’s possible that another six universities will be in the same position by the middle of next year.

“ Without additional public investment in higher education this crisis cannot be addressed. But the Government has rejected this option.

“This review must convince the Government that such investment is urgently required. But it will surely also tell Dr Nelson that further deregulation can only intensify the myriad of funding, infrastructure and educational problems that beset universities today,” Senator Carr said.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922 Jane Nicholls 0419 801 940 Andrew Reeves0419 892 159

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