Budget and professorial lectures

A message from Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Julie Cogin.

The 2024-2025 Federal Budget released last week includes important considerations for the higher education sector and for ACU.

Federal Budget 2024 – 2025

The Government has responded to the Australian Universities Accord final report in this year’s budget and has set a national target of 80 per cent of the workforce having a tertiary qualification by 2050. The Government has committed $1.1 billion over the next five years, along with an additional $2.7 billion from 2028 to 2035, for the first stage of reforms to Australia’s tertiary education system.

One reform we are delighted to see is the introduction of practicum payments for nursing, midwifery, teaching and social work students who undertake mandatory placements. ACU has advocated for many years for the support of students taking mandatory placements, and we are pleased to see these payments introduced.

Other reforms that will have a positive impact on our students include:

  • changes to the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) system to limit the indexation of student loan debts to the lower of the Consumer Price Index or the Wage Price Index
  • providing more students with a pathway into higher education through a new FEE-FREE Uni Ready Courses program
  • further investment in student safety and wellbeing by establishing a National Student Ombudsman and introducing a National Higher Education Code to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence.

The reforms also include the establishment of the Australian Tertiary Education Commission, an independent body that will act as a steward of the tertiary education system.

The budget also commits to:

  • $6.4 billion over 13 years for medical research through the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in the following priority areas:
    • research translation of outcomes into medical practice
    • a new research mission from 2027-28 for low-survival cancers and reducing health inequities
    • patient-centered research in areas such as women’s health, and supporting innovative treatments, clinical trials and more advanced healthcare breakthrough discoveries.
  • $888 million over eight years to strengthen Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention
  • research into preventative health and chronic disease
  • improvements to aged care and palliative care
  • promoting high-quality and tailored maternity care and expanding the Midwife Professional Indemnity Scheme
  • continued access to health and support services for veterans and their families and to reform the legislation framework for veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation.
Professorial Lecture Series

Thank you to everyone who attended the first event in our 2024 Professorial Lecture Series in Brisbane and online earlier this month.

We had the opportunity to celebrate and hear from leading ACU academics who were promoted through the 2023 academic promotions process. Professor Laura Miller shared insights gathered as chief investigator of the ENVISAGE program, which aims to empower parents and caregivers who are raising children with a disability or developmental concerns. Professor Gert-Jan Pepping shared his research and insights on how we can impact sport performance, health and ageing through technology and changes to our built environment. Laura and Gert-Jan did an excellent job of presenting their research in an engaging way, as evidenced by the active audience participation.

The next round of lectures will be held in Melbourne on Wednesday 5 June and Thursday 4 July. You will also be able to attend online. Please see the article  in this edition of the Staff Bulletin for registration details and to learn more about the speakers.

I look forward to seeing many of you at these upcoming events as we continue to celebrate and acknowledge our colleagues.

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