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CAUT Bulletin Archives

June 1999

Australian Budget a Cruel Blow to Profs

The Australian government tabled what it claimed was an "education budget" in May, but it was quickly given a failing grade by university teachers.

Carolyn Allport, president of Australia's National Tertiary Education Union which represents 25,000 university academic staff, said the federal budget was a cruel blow to those working in post-secondary education, and offered no relief to hard-pressed students.

"The Australian university system has suffered its fourth consecutive year of funding cuts," said Allport.

"If the Prime Minister were serious about education, he'd be doing something about the real problems confronting our universities: falling levels of government funding, increased costs to students, and the urgent need to provide proper funding for staff resources."

The conservative administration of John Howard has slashed spending on universities and in 1998 removed the former Labour government's prohibition on charging full tuition fees to Australian undergraduates.

The number of Australian students now paying the full cost of tuition more than doubled this year.

"Prime Minister Howard's 'education bonanza' is only for those who can pay their own way. His government has done nothing to encourage those who, for reasons of social and economic disadvantage, find it difficult to study at university," added Allport.