The Australian Greens today launched a new plan to boost university funding by 10 per cent - or $1.474 billion - over the next four years to improve the quality of higher education.
The Greens proposal, which has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office and is calculated on base funding levels prior to Labor's $2.3 billion budget cuts, will be gradually phased in from 2014 to 2017, applied at a rate of 2.5 per cent per calendar year from 1 January next year.
"The Greens plan to increase student base funding for universities by 10 per cent was recommended by the Bradley Review which was initiated by Labor in 2008," Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.
"It is important to note the increase in funding comes on top of our plans to reverse Labor's $2.3 billion higher education budget cuts.
"Universities are not only critical to a clever country but are drivers of innovation, new investment and jobs in a 21st century economy.
"The Greens university funding boost will ensure hard-working university staff can engage in quality teaching and research.
"The funding crisis in universities should never have been allowed to occur. The Bradley Review identified a real risk that if funding levels were not increased then universities, students and staff would suffer a decline in education standards.
"As a result of the government ignoring the recommendation for an increase in base funding we are seeing increasing pressure on universities, academics and students, with larger classes, fewer contact hours for research and less course choices.
"Only the Greens will stand up to the old parties ripping $2.3 billion in cuts from higher education, instead of investing in the future."
Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Greens' university funding increase is supported by unions, universities and student groups.
"Labor and Coalition cannot deliver a world-class higher education system as their policies do not address reliable and adequate funding. Using education to find budget cuts leads to under funding and neglect," Senator Rhiannon said.
"Today's policy announcement by the Greens is a modest and necessary spend. Australia is the only OECD country where public contribution to higher education was at the same level in 2005 as it had been in 1995."