September 4, 2023

IRU Response to Universities Accord Interim Report


On 1 September 2023, the IRU submitted its response to the Universities Accord Interim Report.

This builds upon the full IRU submission to the Accord (made in April) which is available here.

The Accord Panel requested that responses to the Interim Report focus on the three most pressing priorities for reform. The IRU response focuses on:

  1. Equity, participation, skills and student success
  2. Research, knowledge translation and impact
  3. Governance and funding for a more diverse, equitable and innovative system.

The IRU vision for the Universities Accord is for a new partnership between government and universities to deliver a more equitable and innovative Australia.

Key positions:

  • The IRU supports the proposal to set targets to improve equity and access for students, with university-specific targets set through new mission-based Accord agreements.
  • Broader reforms will also be needed to meet these equity targets, including reform of the Job-Ready Graduates (JRG) package and of financial support for students.
  • Given the significant public benefits to the nation, further expansion of higher education should be primarily funded by government rather than increasing student contributions.
  • Research Block Grant funding should be increased and included in mission-based Accord agreements, with accountability linked to measures of both research quality and impact.
  • The IRU supports a First Nations-led review of access and outcomes, the establishment of a First Nations Higher Education Council and additional funding for First Nations-led research.
  • The IRU does not support a levy on international student revenue, but it does support a mechanism for redistribution of public funding to areas of greatest need and impact.

Read the full submission here.