December 19, 2022

Australian Universities Accord: Consultation on Terms of Reference

 Executive Summary 

The Innovative Research Universities (IRU) warmly welcomes the Review of Australia’s Higher Education System as the first step towards a new Australian Universities Accord. At a time of significant global change, the Review provides an important opportunity to examine where the Australian university system is working well, and where reform is needed. The Accord should focus on settings to ensure that Australia’s public university system can deliver the maximum public value into the decades ahead. 

The Terms of Reference for the Review cover a range of issues that demand attention, including the role of universities in preparing graduates for the opportunities and jobs of the future, unfinished business in access and equity, the flaws in the Job-Ready Graduates package and the connection between universities and the vocational education and training sector. Specific IRU priorities include: 

  • Equity: understanding what works for supporting student success across diverse cohorts. 
  • Research: reform to restore balance across the system, including a focus on research translation and impact in all sectors, not just the private sector. 
  • Indigenous knowledge: a systematic approach to Indigenous-led education and research. 
  • Innovation: reducing complexity in the existing system and creating room for universities to focus on their unique missions and the needs of their communities. 

Finally, we highlight a number of areas that we believe are under-developed in the Terms of Reference and practical issues for consideration in 2023 on the path towards implementation. 

We look forward to working closely with the Accord Panel and Australian Government throughout 2023 to contribute to an Accord that will deliver a more equitable and innovative future for all Australians. 

Read the full submission here.