22 October 2012

Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

Research and university funding remains at record levels

The Gillard Government will maintain its record investment in research, higher education and student support despite falling revenues and difficult budget conditions.

The Minister for Science, Research and Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the Government was determined to ensure its significant investment is delivering the best outcomes.

“This Government has invested more than $43.2 billion in core university funding from 2008 to 2011—that’s a 50 per cent increase on the previous four years under the Howard government,” Senator Evans said.

“In the four years from 2012 to 2015 we will invest a further $58.9 billion—that’s $30.1 billion in additional funding for universities, more than double the level of funding under the last four years of the Howard government.

“The Gillard Government will continue to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of science and research and our record investment will continue.

“That’s why we have guaranteed that more than $1 billion in grants will be delivered this financial year.

“There has been no change to the level of grants allocated to the Australian Research Council and Cooperative Research Centres.

“Close to $880 million in ARC Discovery and Linkage grants and $154 million in CRC grants will support the research effort, ensuring continuity for ongoing projects as well as new investment in key scientific and research priorities.”

Senator Evans said as part of today’s MYEFO, funding for the Sustainable Research Excellence (SRE) initiative, a component of Research Block Grants, will be maintained.

“By the end of this year, SRE will have provided an additional $370 million in funding to universities and by 2016, the Government will reach the total amount committed in the
2009-10 Budget,” Senator Evans said.

“The SRE program will continue to provide a significant contribution to the indirect costs of competitive grant research.

This year’s SRE funding will remain unchanged. In 2013, the funding will be indexed from the 2012 level and will then steadily increase at a more sustainable level over three years to reach the planned peak of $300 million in 2016.

“Our unprecedented investment and our landmark higher education reforms have opened up the doors of our universities to an extra 150,000 Australians.

“This financial year, the Gillard Government is also investing $3.3 billion in Youth Allowance and Austudy to ensure a student’s bank balance doesn’t handicap his or her ability to pursue education.

“The MYEFO includes an upward revision of $1.9 billion for Youth Allowance and Austudy, largely reflecting an increase in projected enrolments in higher education and a growing take up of income support payments by university students under the demand driven system.”

“The Gillard Government knows the critical role science, research and higher education plays in driving innovation and keeping Australia competitive in the 21st century and that’s why we have invested—and will continue to invest—a record amount.

Senator Evans’ Media Contact: 
Rhys Davies 0411 138 572
Amy McKenna 0408 570 603