University welcomes Victorian Government higher education support package
The University of Melbourne today welcomed the Victorian Government’s strong support package for universities that will help students suffering hardship, boost research and help save jobs in the higher education sector.
University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell said: “The university sector has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector was one of the first to be affected when the COVID-19 outbreak led to the closure of our borders and the sector may be one of the last to recover. The support measures are timely and will make a difference on campuses around the state.
“The Victorian Government’s support package is much needed and will save jobs across the sector, ensuring our universities will be better placed to help with the recovery effort.”
Professor Maskell thanked Premier Daniel Andrews, Treasurer Tim Pallas and Higher Education Minister Gayle Tierney for their assistance and commitment to the sector.
Professor Maskell said the University was grateful for the $45 million hardship funding for students.
“International students should not be seen in market terms," he said. "They are talented, intelligent people who learn new knowledge and skills, share great ideas and contribute to the vibrancy and success of our city and then take their new knowledge and skills to help other communities around the world.”
Professor Maskell said the $350 million Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund will help universities that have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep projects moving forward, providing a vital lifeline that will help save jobs across the economy as well as position the university sector to be ready for the recovery.
The University welcomed the $110 million commitment to a 50 per cent payroll tax deferral and will work with the Victorian Government on the detail of this initiative.
Professor Maskell said: “The State Government support package is focused on putting people first. Victorian universities employ around 75,000 people and international education is Victoria’s biggest export earner that provides a $12 billion boost to the state economy. The higher education sector is extremely important to Victoria and the nation. We welcome this support from the Victorian Government and the University of Melbourne is, and will continue to be, working with State and Federal Government to find a way forward on opening a safe, quarantined international student corridor into Australia. So many businesses in Australia benefit from the vibrant international students in our community.
“A pressing issue for next year will be the number of university places available for Australian students. The Commonwealth has capped the number of places. Next year – with the baby boom coming through and more people looking to improve their employment prospects during these extremely challenging times – we will need more places for home students. As one of the hardest hit sectors in Australia we continue to advocate to the Commonwealth for support for universities, while offering our partnership in building for the post-pandemic future."