Labor promises AU$300m for university research facilities

The Australian Labor party has promised a AU$300 million (US$217 million) fund to pay for university research facilities, including laboratories and other infrastructure, and has accused the Coalition government of failing to fund capital projects, writes Paul Karp for The Guardian.

Labor’s deputy leader and education spokesperson, Tanya Plibersek, announced a five-year funding grant in western Sydney last week. The party will ask the university sector for submissions on how to spend its proposed AU$300 million future fund, but plans to spend it on small to medium infrastructure projects, investment in new or updated research equipment, labs and other important projects. Plibersek told ABC’s AM the University of Western Sydney would get AU$20 million from the fund to expand research for an agri-tech and protected cropping research facility at its Hawkesbury campus.

Universities Australia Chief Executive, Catriona Jackson, called Labor’s announcement a “very welcome step”. “We have long campaigned to save the AU$3.8 billion [education investment fund] and we want to see investment start flowing again for crucial education and research infrastructure,” she said. Universities Australia has warned the federal government it must continue to invest in university infrastructure or risk “a gradual erosion of our world-class facilities”.
Full report on The Guardian site