A new report released today reveals Australia’s eight leading universities, including The University of Western Australia, contributed an estimated $66.4 billion to the Australian economy in 2016.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said for the first time in more than a century of providing higher education to Australians, the Economic Impact of Group of Eight Universities report revealed how significant Australia’s top universities were to supporting the national economy.
The Group of Eight (Go8) set out to quantify its contribution by commissioning the report from London Economics, one of Europe’s leading specialist policy and economics consultancies.
It provides a detailed picture of the value of Go8 universities to the Australian economy through teaching and learning, research activities, spending on Australian goods and services and the creation of export revenues by attracting international students.
“This report highlights the importance of universities to the economic and social fabric of communities and the need for that value to be considered when creating policy,” Professor Freshwater said.
“It is particularly pleasing is to see that UWA’s contribution in 2016, which directly benefits the State, was $4.5 billion,” Professor Freshwater said.
The report revealed that compared to total operational costs of $12.4 billion, a return of $66.4 billion was equivalent to a benefit-to-cost ratio of 5½ to 1.
“Significantly it also outlined that the combined Go8 research activity contributed a total of $24.5 billion to the Australian economy.”
Focusing on the 2016 academic year, the report shows that Go8 universities employed more than 51,000 staff and taught more than 380,000 students.
It also highlights that international students, through their fee income and other expenditure, supported 73,000 jobs in 2016 across all sectors of the Australian economy.
“We are now able to quantify the value of the country’s leading universities, and we welcome a discussion with Government and industry on how we can harness and leverage this value to develop higher education policy settings to set the sector on a sustainable footing for the future, and grow this contribution over the coming years,” said Professor Freshwater.
The Group of Eight represents Australia’s eight leading universities: The University of Western Australia, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of Adelaide, The University of Melbourne, The University of New South Wales, Australian National University and Monash University.
The report is available at: https://www.go8.edu.au/economic-impact-go8-universities
David Stacey (UWA Media Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229/ (+61 4) 32 637 716