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Unspent Funding Should Be Redistributed

Association of University Staff - Media Release

Attn Education Reporter Wednesday, 3 December 2003

Unspent private tertiary funding should be redistributed in the public sector

More than $19 million in unspent funding in the private tertiary education sector should be reinvested in the public tertiary education says the Association of University Staff (AUS).

Associate Education (Tertiary) Minister, Steve Maharey has announced that the $19 million in unused funding from 2003 will be reallocated through a Strategic Priorities Fund to new or growing PTEs in 2004. Mr Maharey said that the money was not used this year because some PTEs under spent their allocations and others 'exited' the system. He intends to keep the money in the private sector.

AUS National President, Dr Bill Rosenberg, says the government should take the opportunity created by the failure of PTEs such as Carich and Modern Age to to review whether private institutions should receive public funding at all, and to immediately reduce the overall funding handed over to private institutions. "To say these institutions 'exited' the system is an insult to all those students who lost money and to staff who lost their jobs. It shows the Minister is not a fast learner in regard to this sector," said Dr. Rosenberg.

"Funding to private institutions rose rapidly in the dying days of the National government in the late 1990's and the present government has done nothing but cap this funding," said Dr. Rosenberg. "The recent crashes have raised, once again, questions about why private providers should profit from public funding, particularly where facilities provided by public institutions are duplicated in the private sector. Students, staff, public education and the public are suffering as a result of this badly conceived and deteriorating policy".

"Public institutions are much more accountable for the quality of their courses but are systematically underfunded," said Dr Rosenberg. "The $19 million would have been better used to double the amount of new money the government put into the performance based research fund this year".

Ends

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