UWS applauds higher education Budget

Date: 13/05/2009

The University of Western Sydney has applauded the comprehensive funding package for the university sector announced in last night's Federal Budget - particularly the range of initiatives to get more Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education, according to UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janice Reid.

Professor Reid says UWS has been at the forefront of opening up higher education opportunities for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds for 20 years.

"It is pleasing to see that many of the recommendations outlined in the Bradley Review of Higher Education have been addressed in this Budget, through changes to student income support, scholarship initiatives, incentives for universities to attract more students from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education, and a more student-focussed system.

"This has been a landmark Federal Budget for university teaching and research funding - one that promises to transform Australia's higher education landscape," says Professor Reid.

"UWS is particularly delighted by the announcement of $40 million in funding for the University to establish a new world-class Centre for Climate Change and Energy Research (CCCER) at its Hawkesbury Campus; and $17.6 million to develop the new School of Medicine Clinical School at Blacktown Hospital.

"This will greatly boost research and development, employment and health services in Western Sydney.

"The University also welcomes the $46.9 million in health and medical infrastructure funding for the Ingham Health Research Institute at Liverpool Hospital, in which it is a partner with the Sydney South West Area Health Service and the University of New South Wales."

UWS believes the nation's economic and social sustainability rests with investing in a world-class education system that is accessible for all Australians, according to Professor Reid.

"This Budget will go a long way to helping achieve the Government's target of 40 per cent of all 25-34 year olds achieving a bachelor degree or above by 2025," Professor Reid says.

"UWS is one of the leading universities working to lift Australia's higher education participating rates, with many of its domestic students coming from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

"Half of our students are the first in their family to attend university, and two-thirds of the student population comes from Greater Western Sydney."

Professor Reid says the University is pleased with other higher education Budget measures, such as future indexation of university grants, addressing the gap in funding for the indirect costs of research, and increasing the funding for nursing and teaching courses.

These will be introduced over several years, but Professor Reid says this delay is understandable in the context of the economic situation and the priority given to job-producing infrastructure and building projects in regions, such as Greater Western Sydney.



Media Services Manager

Amanda Whibley
02 9678 7084, 0418 438 399