The A$6 billion (US$4.9 billion) fund will initially allocate more than $1 billion to the nation’s 38 public universities between 2008 and 2011. This far exceeds a call by vice-chancellors for the government to increase spending by $500 million over three years.
The government had initially announced a $5 billion fund but added a further $1 billion after its budget surplus blew out to $17.3 billion earlier this year. The fund will be further boosted from future surpluses so the total could amount to a staggering $50 billion within a few years. The capital component of the fund will be invested to maximise the earnings available for distribution.
Universities will receive funding according to the extent they meet government policies with regard to “diversity, specialisation and responsiveness to labour market needs”, Bishop said. Other factors to be considered will include whether universities have been able to raise matching funds from state or territory governments,
Universities Australia,de VSNU/HBO-raad aldaar, noemt “the additional money most welcome. On the basis of the returns universities made from their own investments, the extra $1 billion allocated by the government would return about $100 million a year, bringing the total return to $600 million. I think they’ve deliberately budgeted conservatively and I think that’s a responsible thing to do,” zegt voorzitter Sutton