Good morning everyone,
In the 2016/17 Budget released last night, the Federal Government announced that full university fee deregulation will not be going ahead, implementation of reforms will be deferred until 2018, and released an Options Paper on higher education reform.
There are a number of key budget measures and announcements that affect the higher education sector:
- Full fee deregulation is no longer being considered in its current form. The reform process has been delayed for 12 months with any further changes to come into come effect from 1 January 2018. The 20 per cent Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) cut that was announced in the 2014 Budget has been delayed with that timing.
- The efficiency dividend on CGS and related unlegislated measures are to be reversed and all withheld funds will be returned.
- Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP) funding will be cut by $152 million, consisting of:
- $12 million to the National Strategy for International Education
- $40 million transferred to AIATSIS,
- $100 million in budget savings.
- The Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) will close from 1 July 2016 but the Awards for Teaching Excellence, for Programs which enhance Learning, and Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning will continue.
- The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency will receive an additional $10.1 million.
- The Quality Indicators of Learning and Teaching (QILT) student information website will receive $8 million over the next four years.
- There is also an additional $180.2 million for research support and research training programs, which was announced in National Innovation Statement.
- The Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence will receive $3.5 million over four years.
The Options Paper released last night is open for comment until 25 July 2016, with a consultative process planned for the second half of the year, aiming for legislation into the Parliament in the first half of 2017. In the short-term there are some opportunities for us in the new spending announcements, but I remain concerned about the cuts projected for the sector.
This is a budget released on the eve of a Federal Election campaign, so we'll be watching the Opposition's announcements - in detail as well. I will continue to work closely with our political leaders to ensure funding stability and a strong future for ANU.