Australia’s universities could lose $16 billion in revenue between now and 2023 as a direct result of the CCP virus pandemic, according to the peak body for Australian universities.
According to Universities Australia (UA) revenue losses are expected to be between $3.1 billion and $4.8 billion for the rest of 2020 alone.
Universities Australia (UA) Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said in a media release published on June 3: “We can’t pretend that won’t have a big impact. Not only does that revenue support the staff and facilities to educate the next generation of skilled workers, it also pays for much of the research and innovation that keeps Australia internationally competitive.”
Jackson called on the government to invest directly in research to ensure the country emerges stronger after the pandemic. Among the reasons for government investment that she laid out was Australian universities’ contribution to Australian research and development, which went from 24 to 34 percent in the 10 years leading up to 2017-18.
“Great Australian researchers have been responsible for so many job-creating, life-saving innovations including the vaccine for cervical cancer, IVF, soft contact lenses, the bionic ear and spray on skin for burns victims. All the result of Australian university know-how,” Jackson said.
Jackson noted this could also impact the responses to future crises like the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
“Until now, universities have been increasing their investment in research and innovation. The danger is that if universities are unable to continue funding this activity, Australia’s ability to innovate its way out of the COVID-19 recession will be severely hampered,” Jackson said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison signalled that research and science would be part of the “JobMaker” agenda while giving a speech at the National Press Club on May 26.
The first stage of his “JobMaker” plan will focus on skills and industrial relations, and will then move on to address “energy and resources, higher education, research and science, open banking, the digital economy, trade, manufacturing, infrastructure and regional development, deregulation and federation reform, a tax system to support jobs and investment.”
Morrison hopes this will set up Australia for economic success over the next three to five years.
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Author: Victoria Kelly-Clark