Commonwealth infrastructure funding for Australian universities: 2004 to 2011
Written by NCSEHE’s Paul Koshy & Professor John Phillimore
The Rudd Labor Government was elected in 2007 with a commitment to expand participation in higher education, culminating in a policy to ensure that 40 per cent of all 25- to 34-year-olds in Australia held a qualification at the bachelor’s level or above by 2025. The reform agenda to attain this goal was established in the government’s policy blueprint, Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System, and included a number of key initiatives in capital expenditure and spending on student income support (DEEWR, 2009).
A key component of this agenda has been a renewed focus on infrastructure funding for higher education, both generally and as part of the Rudd-Gillard push to ensure the higher education sector is equipped to handle increased student demand, in keeping with the recommendations of key inquiries such as the Bradley Review of Higher Education (the ‘Bradley Review’), where it was observed that:
Over the last decade there has been relatively limited funding available specifically for the development of capital infrastructure or its refurbishment. This has meant that there is a backlog of renewal and refurbishment projects in the sector and some facilities are now sub-standard and inadequate for teaching and research purposes (DEEWR, 2008, p. 171).