Apr 10, 2003

Confidence in universities collapse

CONFIDENCE IN UNIVERSITIES COLLAPSE

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 10 April 2003

New figures show that confidence in Australia’s education sector, particularly higher education, is at rock bottom.

According to the latest TMP/Hudson Job Index Survey education is Australia’s most pessimistic industry regarding future employment prospects.

The survey, which measures optimism by the extent to which employers expect to increase staff numbers, found that just 20.2 per cent of education employers expected to hire more staff in the next three months. This is the lowest proportion of any of the 15 sectors surveyed and eight per cent below the national average.

Acting Shadow Education Minister Anthony Albanese said the result confirmed the extent of damage inflicted on Australia’s universities by the Howard Government.

“Since 1996 the Howard Government has slashed $5 billion from higher education funding, putting enormous financial pressure on students and universities,” Mr Albanese said.

In Sydney addressing the National Day of Action rally of university students and staff opposing any increase in student fees, Mr Albanese said that under the Howard Government student contributions had increased 85 per cent and HECS debt had reached $9 billion.

“Labor opposes any deregulation of students fees. Australian students and their families are already paying some of the highest study costs in the world and the Howard Government wants to hit them with even bigger charges.

“Instead of trying to squeeze more money out of students and their families the Howard Government should significantly increase public investment in higher education”.