Australian Greens Senator and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that the government must provide a new funding package for higher education to save the jobs of thousands of staff.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Across the country, universities are drawing up plans to cut staff and wages. From PhD students to career academics and professional staff, higher education workers will lose their jobs as a direct result of the government’s failure to provide support during the COVID-19 crisis.
“No higher education jobs should be lost. With universities unfairly excluded from the JobKeeper wage subsidy, the government must step up immediately to provide a new funding package. Job security on campuses must be guaranteed, ensuring that all casual staff are also retained.
“Universities are some of the most casualised workplaces in the country. Staff and students are now suffering as a result.
“Universities have been starved of adequate public funding for decades. This has led to a reliance on revenue from international student enrolments, which are now greatly at risk due to the pandemic. Significant new investment, including a minimum ten per cent boost to Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding, is essential.
“Universities with large reserves should also be prioritising staff jobs in spending what money they have. At the end of the day, universities are about people. Keeping university staff on payroll should be top of every Vice-Chancellor’s agenda in managing this crisis.
“In addition to securing jobs through emergency funding, now is the time to make university and TAFE free for all so we can rebuild as a more fair and just society after this crisis,” she said.