Release type: Media Release


Expert panel for higher education base funding review


Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education
Minister for Skills
Minister for Jobs and Workplace Relations

The Australian Government has appointed an expert panel to conduct a review into higher education base funding, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans announced today.

“This important review implements a recommendation of the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education, to establish the principles for public investment in Australian higher education and to ensure that funding levels are competitive and appropriate for the sector,” said Senator Evans.

“The panel reflects a wide range of experience and knowledge and is well placed to undertake an examination of the way in which universities are funded for higher education learning and teaching.”

The panel will be led by the Hon Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, former South Australian Minister for Education and Tourism. Dr Lomax-Smith brings considerable experience to the review as a former minister, medical doctor and researcher.

The panel will also include Emeritus Professor Dennis Gibson, former Chancellor of RMIT University and Vice-Chancellor of the Queensland University of Technology, Dr Louise Watson, Principal Researcher in Lifelong Learning at the Australian Institute of Sustainable Communities at the University of Canberra, and Professor Beth Webster, Principal Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research and Director of Intellectual Property at the Research Institute of Australia.

Senator Evans said the review of base funding will take place in a rapidly changing higher education environment. Demand driven funding for teaching and learning will commence in 2012. Postgraduate courses are becoming a much more common entry into the professions, rather than a form of professional upgrading. The proportion of Australians who are participating in higher education is increasing.

The review will establish enduring principles to underpin public investment in higher education, including the appropriate balance between public and private contributions towards the cost of undergraduate and postgraduate education.

The review will identify and articulate the principles that should underpin the appropriate distribution of funding by discipline, the share of funding from Government, students and other sources and the best funding model to deliver increased teaching quality.

The review builds on the Government‟s substantial new injections of capital and recurrent funding for higher education first announced in the 2009 Budget. It will provide the funding framework that delivers on the Government‟s goal to give all Australians the chance to access a high quality higher education.

“In response to the Bradley Review, the Government committed to lifting caps on undergraduate university places for domestic students, at an estimated additional cost of $2.1 billion over five years from 2010, and a new indexation approach will mean that Universities will have an additional $2.6 billion over five years from 2011 to provide top quality education,” Senator Evans said.

“We are also making a substantial investment in higher education infrastructure. Already, more than $4.1 billion has been committed from the Education Investment Fund for strategic infrastructure in the tertiary and research sectors.”

The panel will report back to the Government in October 2011. The Terms of Reference for the review are attached.

  • Terms of Reference – Higher Education Base Funding Review ( PDF 32KB | RTF 50KB)

The announcement of the review also fulfils a commitment to Independent Members Mr Tony Windsor MP and Mr Robert Oakeshott MP, to review funding arrangements for Australian universities to ensure they remain internationally competitive.

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