David Kemp in Wonderland

Wednesday, 12 May 1999

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide, Professor Mary O'Kane, has questioned the Federal Government's commitment to higher education following yesterday's Budget.

In an "Alice in Wonderland" media release titled "Advances in Higher Education Equity", Minister David Kemp announced the scrapping of the merit-based Equity Scholarship Scheme which has supported thousands of bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

"Even more worrying is that there is no attempt in the Budget to provide for much-needed salary increases for university staff," Professor O'Kane said.

"This will lead to a further downgrading of the quality of higher education and erode the knowledge base of the country."

She said many of the Government's specific commitments were repackaged versions of previous commitments, however the extra funding for medical research was welcome.

"There has been no real increase in funding to the Australian Research Council, which underpins Australia's fundamental research. The Government is merely filling holes created in previous budgets," Professor O'Kane said.

"I am also very concerned about the Government's intention to shift student places in existing medical schools to the new school at James Cook University. This is particularly worrying for Adelaide and will have consequences for the State's entire health system."

 

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Ms Robyn Mills
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Mr David Ellis
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