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Gap Between NZ And Australian Universities Widens

Media Release 15 May 2008

Gap Between NZ And Australian Universities Widens

The Australian Federal Budget released this week has further widened the gap between the New Zealand and Australian university systems in terms of both resources and academic salaries, according to the peak body representing this country’s eight universities.

Professor Roger Field, chair of the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, says the gap which has existed for some time is rapidly turning into a chasm. Australian universities now enjoy access to a new A$11 billion Education Investment Fund and a A$500 million Better Universities Renewal Fund at a time when the total New Zealand tertiary education budget amounts to around $4.4 billion, 42 per cent of which goes on student financial support.

“The Association of Commonwealth Universities’ latest salary survey report notes the particular risk that strong Australian academic salaries pose to New Zealand. At present academics working in Australian universities receive salaries which are 44 per cent higher than salaries paid to their counterparts here, on an across-the-board basis.”

Professor Field says the remuneration gap between academics on opposing sides of the Tasman is further accentuated by salary loadings and non-salary benefits paid by Australian universities, such as generous employer contributions to superannuation.

“Universities Australia, the equivalent body to the NZVCC, clearly has the ear of the Rudd Government with a message that further investment will grow Australian universities’ capacity to make effective contributions to the wealth and welfare of that nation.

“This is in sharp contrast to the situation here where successive governments have run down the university system in terms of total funding to a point where that decline is costing our universities $230 million a year in real terms, compared to 15 years ago.”


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