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higher education, market freedom, CoAG « Previous | |Next »
May 10, 2007

I'm rather suprised by the lack of scepticism and critical analysis around the education funding and policy in the Costello budget. If education was the centrepiece of the budget, then this is from a government that has been hostile to universities and neglected them for over a decade. The $5 billion endowment fund will only provide around $300 million a year for 38 universities with around $1.2 billion in deferred maintenance backlog.That's less than $10 million each as Kevin Rudd points out, for capital works and research facilities.

Presumably some universities will gain and some will lose. As will also happen with the cap on the number of full -fee paying domestic students being lifted, even though a publicly supported HECS-paying students remains the core of the higher education system. I presume that student loans will increasingly become the dominant form of student contribution.

This means that the gap between the sandstone and big research universities---the prestigious universities ---will only grow wider, since more market freedom allows the older universities to exploit their market power and to become more elite.

Where does the ALP stand on the increasing shift to a more market mode of governance now? It can no longer go back to the world of fully funded funded university places. How will they respond?

One way open is for Rudd to reject Costello's hostility to the state and his refusal to link his education proposals to CoAG's human capital reform agenda that aims to boost productivity. Rudd can say that federal Labor will work with the states in the name of co-operative federalism to implement the broader CoAG reform agenda on health and education.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:52 AM | | Comments (2)


The tactic of creating an "endowment" is highly suspicious, in my opinion. As is the case with the Future Fund, the first point of call for this $5b. of taxpayers' money will be the stock market (maybe including foreign stocks, as is the case with the FF). To a significant extent, both the FF and this "endowment" amount to Govt. guarantees of share prices.

it is an interesting scenario isn't it. The reveneue and capital of the proposed Education Endowment fund depends on what the hedge fuinds do as they buy into the private equity raids on Austyralia's big corporate companies; and then play the margins to make a quick buck.