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Victorian Government university investment fund is good news – now other states should follow

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) group has welcomed the Victorian Government’s $350 million ‘Higher Education State Investment Fund’ announced today (19 May 2020).

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney and Treasurer Tim Pallas said the new fund will support universities with capital works, applied research and research partnerships to support universities as the state recovers from the impacts of coronavirus.

The fund will be focused “on new technology and infrastructure that enables universities to conduct new research, commercialise Intellectual property and create high-value jobs,” the Victorian Government has said.

The fund will also offer universities payroll tax deferrals valued at around $110 million.

IRU Executive Director Conor King has welcomed the announcement and called on other states to consider providing similar support packages.

The IRU represents seven universities across six states and territories, including Victoria-based La Trobe University.

IRU Executive Director Conor King said:

“Until the Federal Government recognises the need to offset the worst of the revenue downturn for universities across 2020 and 2021, it is support like the Victorian investment fund that will keep vital research ticking over for universities in the state.

“Victoria is the first state to announce a higher education relief package of this size. I urge the other states and territories to support their local universities in a similar way to minimise harm to education and research outcomes.”