Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Budget: Did universities get their fair share?

By Tim Mazzarol

Stronger higher education spending will help Australia become a ‘clever country’.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

The Gillard Government has reiterated its commitment to education in this year’s budget, and universities in particular.

Universities with regional campuses were the biggest winners, receiving $110 million.

The budget offered some useful investments in strategic projects, such as the square kilometre array (SKA) telescope and a boost to the CSIRO. There were also some useful tax incentives for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

The general response from many vice chancellors was positive, perhaps more out of relief that it did not contain any serious cuts in research funding as had been feared.

However, there remain questions as to how effective these measures are in moving Australia forward.

The budget comes down at a time when Australia’s economy is facing significant challenges.

Australia survived the global financial crisis fairly well. However, there should be no complacency. Australia must prepare for an inevitable slowdown in demand for our resources.

Investment in major gas or mining projects is expected to peak around 2014-2015. The longer term growth outlook remains uncertain.

Australia must shift from being a “lucky country” to a “clever country”. We need to be more reliant on our brains and skills than what is in the ground.

To achieve this will require significant and ongoing investment in...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Tim Mazzarol is Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia