Uni funding cuts will hurt local economies

Debbie Seaton with her first book. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403003
Debbie Seaton with her first book. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403003

Chief executive Belinda Robinson said regional areas, including the western suburbs, were targeted because of their local university presence.

‘The local ad blitz reflects the fact that universities are vital to every facet of the Australian economy, whether in the cities, the suburbs or rural and regional towns,’ Ms Robinson said.

University of WA Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson said the recent federal budget cuts and a $1 billion decrease for research announced last year would hit all universities hard, particularly research-intensives sites such as UWA.

‘UWA faces a resourcing gap of about $10 million this year, followed by $20 million in each of the following two years before returning to balance in 2016,’ Mr Johnson said.

‘In addition, fewer undergraduates will start at UWA in 2015 due to a State Government decision 12 years ago to raise the school leaving age by six months.

‘The latest budget funding cuts appear to contradict last year’s Federal Government ‘Asian Century’ goal of having 10 Australian universities ranked in the world top 100 by 2025.’

UWA Student Guild Education Council President Tom Henderson said the direct cuts to universities meant UWA would need to find money elsewhere or reduce costs to continue maintaining the current level of quality teaching that was expected from WA’s premier university.

‘I think the cuts have the potential to reduce the quality and diversity of courses that we offer at UWA, and staff will be under the pump,’ Mr Henderson said.