18 December 2018

MYEFO Announcement Undermines Australia’s Future

The Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA) is disappointed by the current Coalition Federal Government MYEFO announcement this week (December 17) to cut $328 million over the next four years from the Research Block Grant Funding Scheme.

According to Academy President and Economics Professor Glenn Withers “The Government’s decisions in this area are actually undermining Australia’s future.”

These research cuts follow on from the 2017 MYEFO, where demand driven university enrolment was abandoned.

ASSA believes that to undermine Australia’s excellent research and university sector in this way is misguided. The Departments of Prime Minister, Treasury, Finance, Industry, and Education should be advising Government of the high rates of return to government outlays in this area. This return well exceeds the Finance Department’s explicit hurdle rates of return for responsible public investment, and delivers both economic benefit and much more for society.

The Government’s own political advisers likewise should be aware that such gestures do jeopardise the goodwill of the 120,000 academics, 1.3 million students and 4.2 million graduates and their families in Australia. The evidence from public attitude survey research is highly supportive of investing in the future through higher education and research.

“A vision for our future is very much desired”, said Professor Withers.