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Speech: We need to fix the state of research funding

I speak to take note of document No. 5 in the Senate Order of Business, the Australian Research Council grant recommendations July 2021. Firstly, I must congratulate those researchers who were successful in the current round of DECRA, as listed in the document. It is not an easy time to be an early-career researcher in this country, and I hope that you're able to conduct your rigorous academic work, which will be of enormous benefit to the community for years to come. But let's be honest about the process for this funding round and the recent Future Fellowships round.

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Early learning services must be supported

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that early learning and care services impacted by lockdowns must be supported through relief payments.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Thousands of early learning centres came to the brink of collapse in 2020 and we don’t want to see the same situation repeating itself.

“Centres are struggling to keep their doors open. Relying on the gap-fee waiver is unsustainable. In the end, families, children and early educators will be impacted.

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Speech: Charges on higher education

I rise to speak on the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Bill 2021 and other cognate bills in front of us right now. I'll state from the outset that the Greens will not be opposing these bills. The bills update the model for registration charges for the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students, known as CRICOS.

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Amendments: Family Assistance Legislation (Child Care Subsidy) Bill 2021

Senator FARUQI (New South Wales) (10:35): [by video link] My understanding is that, in the bill as circulated, there's an error which means that families that earn between $70,000 and $175,000 would not receive the rate of subsidy as was announced by the minister as part of the budget. Could the minister please confirm that the government amendment which was circulated last night will address this problem?

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Speech: The Morrison government has abandoned universities

It is hard to describe the current dire state of affairs for Australian universities without getting very angry at the Morrison government. Make no mistake: at every single turn throughout COVID-19 and, in fact, since their election, the Liberals and Nationals have failed and attacked our universities. Earlier this year, Universities Australia estimated the 2020 job losses at our universities at more than 17,000 jobs. This is a truly enormous number, no matter how you spin it. These people are the next generation of researchers, the next generation of educators and thinkers.

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Speech: Child Care Subsidy Bill 2021

Senator FARUQI: I speak to the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Subsidy) Bill 2021. The bill removes the annual cap on childcare subsidy, CCS, payments to families and increases the maximum rate of the childcare subsidy for second and subsequent children where a family has more than one child under six years of age. These are the two measures that were announced in the 2021-22 budget.

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Childcare debts must be waived

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has expressed alarm at reports that the Commonwealth is chasing Child Care Subsidy recipients for debts going back several years.

Senator Faruqi said:

“We are in the middle of a pandemic outbreak with millions of people in lockdown and out of work. The least the government can do is show a little humanity and waive these debts.

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Speech: No charges on tertiary education

I speak to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (Charges) Bill 2021 and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2021. I will state at the outset that the Greens will not be supporting these bills that impose yet another charge on higher education providers. Since the coalition have been in power, they have been on a relentless mission to attack the higher education sector. The bills establish a new charge to make registered higher education providers bear the costs of TEQSA risk monitoring and regulatory oversight activities.

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