The State Parliament of South Australia has recently passed legislation for establishing the new Adelaide University, aiming for its inauguration in 2026. This significant move comes after the parliamentary Committee on the Establishment of Adelaide University endorsed the merger of the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia last month.
This endorsement was based on findings that the new institution would significantly advance the economic and social interests of South Australia.
MP Susan Close, a key advocate for the creation of Adelaide University, expressed her views.
‘The creation of the new Adelaide University will benefit all South Australians, providing greater access to higher education, no matter what part of our State they call home’, says MP Close. She emphasised the inclusive nature of the new university, adding, ‘Adelaide University will teach more domestic students from a broader range of backgrounds and will give young people a chance at a university education if that is what they want.’
Close also highlighted the historical significance of this development. ‘This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for higher education in South Australia, and we are seizing it.’
The Committee noted that the merger would enhance South Australia’s competitiveness, especially in the international education market, by raising the new institution’s global ranking and attracting more international students. The long-term economic benefits of the merger, such as improved research output and quality, were also presented as evidence.
Support for the merger extended beyond the academic world, with business groups, academics, and the SA Productivity Commission testifying that it would enable South Australian students to acquire skills essential for state projects like AUKUS.
By 2034, projections show that Adelaide University will contribute an additional $500 million annually to the state’s economy and educate over 70,000 students. To facilitate this growth, the Government will establish two investment funds: a $200 million research fund and a $120 million Student Support Fund aimed at helping students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.
An independent expert in higher education will oversee the merger, offering advice to the Government, the existing universities, and their staff and student bodies. This expert’s role will include providing recommendations on economic benefits, impacts on staff and students, and risk management.
University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj AC and University of South Australia Vice-Chancellor Professor David Lloyd jointly welcomed the legislative decision.
‘We welcome the passing of legislation to establish the new Adelaide University. We thank the Parliament for their confidence in our vision.’ They also recognised the significance of this development, saying, ‘This is an important milestone for South Australia. We look forward to continuing to engage with our communities, as together we create this transformational new institution for our state.’