Like so many parts of the Australian economy, the university sector is not immune from the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, I had very positive discussions with Vice-Chancellor Iain Martin as to how our Government could support further investment opportunities, especially in advanced manufacturing at the Waurn Ponds campus.
A new road access into Deakin Waurn Ponds for industrial and manufacturing tenants is close to being finalised as part of the Geelong City Deal which will support further expansion of commercial opportunities and jobs at the campus.
The Morrison Government continues to work with the sector to minimise the financial impact of COVID-19 on higher education.
On Sunday, the Government announced a higher education package committing to provide universities with more than $18 billion this year, even if they have a fall in domestic student numbers.
The Government will guarantee Commonwealth Grants Scheme (CGS) and HELP funding streams for higher education providers at their current levels for the rest of 2020. For public universities, their 2020 performance-based funding amounts will also be guaranteed.
The Government has worked with the commercial banking sector to provide liquidity to the market. The states and territories have a role to play in ensuring that liquidity is meeting the needs of potential borrowers. We’ve encouraged all universities who think they need additional lending capacity to approach their lenders at this time.
Universities can access the JobKeeper Payment where they are eligible. The JobKeeper program is unprecedented and will provide support to up to 6 million Australians, helping them stay connected to their employer.
All other states and territories except Victoria and New South Wales are providing financial support to international students. I call on Daniel Andrews to follow suit and provide some much needed support to these students at this critical time.
23 April 2020.