CQU the worst off university from government funding freeze
IN an explosive revelation, regional universities are predicted to bear the brunt of the Federal Government's funding freeze with CQUniversity fairing the worst.
An ABC investigation citing Government figures showed regional universities (down 7 per cent) fared twice as badly as their capital city counterparts (down 3.5 per cent) with Central Queensland University (CQU) facing the worst impact out of all of Australia's universities with base funding about 15 per cent lower, equating to a loss of almost $150m.
Disappointed CQ University Vice Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said the freeze was "a tax on success" that punished his university (which now has 16 campuses across five states) for rapid growth.
This would in turn force his university to scale back on sport activities, careers advice, and psychological support services to students.
Labor has slammed the Federal Government's approach to university funding with Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Tanya Plibersek, taking aim at local member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
"When will Michelle Landry stand up against Malcolm Turnbull's devastating uni cuts?" Ms Plibersek asked.
"Malcolm Turnbull says he can't find the money to properly fund universities. But he can find $80 billion to give away to big business and the banks. His priorities are all wrong."
She pointed out that Michelle Landry supported Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull's horror cuts to education and accused her of not standing up for the local community.
"She just can't be trusted with something as important as education - she can't be trusted with your family's future," Ms Plibersek said.
Labor's candidate for Capricornia, Russell Robertson, said this was another example of Ms Landry failing the region.
"CQU is a vital, current and necessary part of our region," Mr Robertson said.
"We are looking at a cut as high as 15 per cent cut in funding to CQU, a lot higher than other other areas, but where is Ms. Landry and Mr Turnbull?"
Ms Landry said she thought it was wrong to say that there's been a cut.
"By freezing one stream of Federal funding, the Turnbull Government is not reducing the funding for universities but rather managing the rate of growth to ensure it is sustainable," Ms Landry said.
"I think it's important to look at the big picture with this and to note that over recent years per student funding grew by 15 per cent yet costs for universities to deliver courses only jumped by 9.5 per cent.
"This highlights that universities can find efficiencies within their budgets without impacting on students."
Ms Landry said in the case of Central Queensland University, base funding will grow by $32.8m over the next four years in addition to the growth in funding for research and special payments to support regional students.
"I recently organised a meeting between the Treasurer Scott Morrison, the Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham, and CQU vice chancellor Scott Bowman in Canberra so that the concerns for CQU over the 'freeze' could be discussed," she said.
Mr Birmingham said his Government was sending a clear message to universities that taxpayers expected them to find saving in areas like their $1.7 billion marketing budgets, administration, or non-core areas of activities that don't necessarily impact on students.