Australian universities "left to bleed" by federal budget: ANU vice chancellor

Source: Xinhua| 2021-05-14 14:52:37|Editor: huaxia
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CANBERRA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- One of Australia's most prestigious universities has warned that the sector has been "left to bleed" by the federal government.

Brian Schmidt, vice-chancellor of the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, said that many universities in Australia would experience "budget woes" in 2021.

The federal budget for the financial year 2021-22 was handed down by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday night.

The ANU in April revealed a budget deficit of 162.4 million Australian dollars (125.4 million U.S. dollars) for 2020 - its worst since 2008.

"What is harder to understand is why the university sector has been left to bleed, given what most might expect to be its pivotal role in the health of the economy," said Schmidt, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday.

"The cumulative effect of border closures on international student numbers will lead to other universities catching up with my university's budget woes this year."

Peak body Universities Australia in February revealed that 17,300 jobs had been lost at universities in 2020 as operating revenue fell by about 4.9 percent, or an estimated 1.8 billion Australian dollars (1.39 billion U.S. dollars) lost in revenue.

It predicted that the sector, one of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, would lose a further 2 billion Australian dollars (1.54 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021.

In response to Schmidt's assessment, Education Minister Alan Tudge told the ABC that funding for higher education was already at an all-time high of 20.4 billion Australian dollars (15.7 billion U.S. dollars). Enditem