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Issue #1597      June 12, 2013

NTEU welcomes Greens’ “Uni Cuts Hurt” campaign

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has welcomed the announcement by the Australian Greens that they will campaign against the latest cuts to university funding and student support made by theLabor government and supported by the Coalition.

“We congratulate Christine Milne and the Greens for standing up for higher education with their ‘uni cuts hurt’ campaign,” Jeannie Rea, NTEU national president, said.

Rea says that the NTEU is calling for the restoration of the latest $2.3 billion cut from university budgets and student funding and is urging MPs to vote against the enabling legislation.

“The Coalition has already announced that it has no intention of restoring the money slashed from universities regardless of what happens to the Gonski reforms. MPs who constantly extol the virtues of higher education and how Australia needs to become a ‘smart country’ should have the courage of their convictions and vote against the enabling legislation when it comes before Federal Parliament.”

Rea said that the recent $2.3 billion cuts come on top of previous cuts of over $2 billion over the past two years.

“These cuts will further increase student costs and debt, and make it harder for our university staff to provide the high quality university education we believe Australians expect and deserve,” said Ms Rea.

Federal government funding per student will fall over the next four years. It will result in more overcrowded classes, more casual lecturers and tutors, and less student support. Courses and staff are already being cut in advance of the legislation going through parliament.

More than 200 staff – or around 15 percent of the workforce – are likely to be cut from the University of Central Queensland with an undisclosed number to go from Southern Cross University. The University of Canberra is closing Chinese, Japanese and Spanish language programs while the Australian National University has a freeze on general staff recruitment, with cuts to come. Monash University has announced it wants to slash 80 jobs in IT.

“The cuts will cruel the chances for higher education of thousands of Australians, especially those in rural and regional areas who are half as likely to hold university degrees as their city cousins,” Rea said.

“Politicians of all persuasions need to talk to their constituents about the issues the really matter to them and vote against the cuts.”  

Next article – A TAFE Charter

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