Australia's vice-chancellors have called on the Government to reconsider its refusal to allocate more money for staff salary rises.
In its annual budget last week, the Government announced a surplus of A$17 billion (£7 billion) with tax cuts totalling nearly A$22 billion and a controversial "welfare to work" scheme costing A$3.6 billion.
Yet spending on higher education programmes will amount to less than A$30 million over the next three years.
Brendan Nelson, the Education Minister, had made it clear before the budget that universities could expect little more when he rejected pleas to provide additional money to meet the cost of salary rises. He quoted from a departmental report that concludes that "further resourcing of the sector would be premature".
Di Yerbury, president of the Australian Vice-chancellors' Committee, said:
"It is disappointing that the need for appropriate indexation (to meet wage rises) hasn't been acknowledged." She urged the Government to reconsider the issue during its term in office.
The Education Department has been allocated an additional A$9 million to assist with implementing a series of higher education reforms. These include changes to industrial relations rules and a new research quality framework.