The Greens have lodged a motion in the Senate to disallow parts of the Coronavirus Economic Response Package (Payments and Benefits) Amendment Rules (No. 2) 2020 that have the effect of excluding universities from accessing the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
The motion would only disallow provisions of the rules regarding JobKeeper eligibility for higher education providers, which extend the turnover calculation period from one to six months for universities and mandate that government funding be included in the calculations.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson for Education, said:
“Through multiple changes to the rules, universities have been targeted by this government and deliberately excluded from the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.
“30,000 jobs are on the line, with impacted staff in every corner of the country. The unfair treatment must end this week. Parliament has the opportunity to reject this malicious exclusion of universities.
“The government keeps shifting the goalposts and the madness has to stop. The failure to support universities through this crisis jeopardises not just our recovery but also our long-term future.
“I call on Labor and the crossbench to do the right thing and back this motion, which would potentially save jobs in every state and territory, and deliver much-needed support to our universities and their staff at this very difficult time.
“In addition to JobKeeper, universities need a dedicated rescue package to massively boost funding, save jobs and research, improve conditions and abolish fees,” she said.