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Curtin University
Note to staff

4 May 2016


As everyone will be aware, there were a number of announcements in last night’s Federal Budget of relevance to the higher education sector.  A summary is provided below.  Many thanks to the Office of Strategy and Planning for pulling this together. I look forward to discussing implications of the Higher Education Options Paper with staff over the next few weeks.

Federal Budget 2016-17

The Budget contains a number of measures that will affect teaching and research at Australian universities. The key changes are:

Higher Education

  • The Government’s higher education reform package remains, but the Government has taken full fee deregulation off the agenda for this year. A policy options paper was published alongside the Budget and contains a number of suggestions for change. The Government is seeking feedback from the sector on these proposals, and aims to finalise its reform agenda in 2016 to enable it to be legislated in mid-2017 and introduced in 2018.
  • The Government will remove the efficiency dividend from the Commonwealth Grants Scheme. The dividend had been included in the 2013-14 Budget but had not been legislated. This will reverse the impact of the dividend with reimbursements due in June 2016.
  • As anticipated by the sector in the lead-up to the Budget, there has been a funding reduction of more than $152 million to the Higher Education Participation Program (HEPP). Funding will be directed to the new National Strategy for International Education ($12 million), the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies ($40 million) and other unspecified areas.
  • The Office of Learning and Teaching has been abolished and funding redirected to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) ($10 million) and the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) ($8 million).
  • Three programs for Indigenous higher education students (Commonwealth Scholarship Program, Indigenous Support Program, and the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme – Tertiary Tuition) will be consolidated into one program from January 2017.

Research and Innovation

  • Improved tax incentives for investors in the early stages of projects, linked to the National Innovation and Science Agenda, are expected to reduce government revenue by $45 million. Venture capital investment is also affected with tax concessions and fund size increasing from $100 million to $200 million for existing early stage venture capital limited partnerships.
  • Department of Industry, Innovation and Science industry program savings to be used to extend funding for the Australian Astronomical Observatory will come from various communication campaigns, including the Cooperative Research Centres program.
  • The National Resources Development Strategy will be allocated $100.5 million for geographical modelling across northern Australia and South Australia.
  • A total of $3.5 million will fund the establishment of six academic centres of cyber security excellence. An additional $4 million will be spent on developing capacity in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Australia is to become a financial technology (FinTech) destination, with an allocation of $200,000 for promotion.

Further information, including the key implications of the budget for Curtin, can be found in an Impact Assessment paper prepared by the Office of Strategy and Planning.

  1. Bruce Maycock May 4, 2016 7:30pm

    Marco and team, thanks for an excellent rapid summary and implications paper.

    • Marco Schultheis May 5, 2016 4:09pm

      Thanks Bruce, appreciate the feedback the team are working very hard on these session so will appreciate your posting. It was nice catching up after the session and thanks for your contribution. Marco

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