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Senate deal making « Previous | |Next »
December 4, 2003

The news reports this morning say that Nelson's big shake-up of higher education will pass into legislation today. The Federal Government has pretty much got what it wanted, even though it had to make some concessions to get the legislation through. We have a bit of pruning here and there with the heart of the deregulatory reforms remaining in place.

The roadblock is Senator Shane Murphy. He is the only one standing firm in his opposition. He opposes the Howard Government's demands that universities offer staff individual Australian Workplace Agreements (AWA). The link between the $404 million as the promised new funding and the AWA agreement have to be broken.

Lets hope Senator Murphy does stand firm. There is little in this package for those public universities who cannot raise the price of their courses to increase their cash flow because their customer base cannot afford the cost. These universities need the indexation of commonwealth funding to enable them to grow in the marketplace.

That capacity has been not been secured in the deal making. There is to be a review of funding indexation in the future (2007) but the government is only committed to implementing its response to the review; it is not locked into accepting any recommendation arising from the review.

It is definitely a two tiered university system that has been created; and one increasingly ruled by the dynamics of the market. In such a market the public universities will suffer and the private ones will prosper. On this issue the Howard Government has got its way. Further reforms will continue the deregulation, provide more incentives to commercialized education, and starve public universities. Effective growth in education will come from the private funding of courses.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:42 AM | | Comments (0)