The impact of Australia’s 20 percent per student federal budget cut leaves universities with a massive funding black hole amounting to more than AU$1.5 billion a year from 2019 onwards. Universities will have to increase their fees by about 30 percent on average says Australia’s National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) just to compensate for funding cuts. To cut costs, NTEU is fearful that universities will further increase their reliance upon casual staff to teach undergraduate students and cut spending on research and community service obligations. NTEU estimates of the impact of the cuts to universities in 2019 show that the full impact of the cuts, all other things being equal, will vary from about $14m at the University of Notre Dame in 2018 to about $75m at Monash.
“With half of university teaching already being delivered by casual staff with little to no job security and retiring academics being replaced by casuals, the situation has become unsustainable and the quality of university education is in jeopardy,” said NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea.
“Universities, schools, professional associations and the community are in despair that prospective students and their families will abandon their aspirations of a university education. They did not vote for this.
“Australia’s highly regarded public university system will be further undermined by the transfer of public funding to enable direct competition from private non-university providers, including for-profit providers. These private providers can cherry pick profitable programs because they do not have the infrastructure costs and community responsibilities of our public tertiary education organisations.”