In response to the passing of the Jobs-Ready Graduates legislation, NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes made the following comments:
“University employees are extremely disappointed Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff chose to support the Bill, allowing it to pass the Senate by the barest of margins.
“The ‘funding certainty’ that Senator Griff and Centre Alliance have delivered today to Australia’s universities is an overall funding cut of $1 billion.
“The passage of the Jobs-Ready Graduates Bill lumps a generation of students with overwhelming debt and will deter many from seeking a university education.
“This legislation does nothing to address the funding and jobs crisis that is smashing our universities, with over 12,000 jobs lost and a revenue shortfall of nearly $3 billion.
“But the author of this mess is Dan Tehan and the Coalition Government, which has completely abandoned Australian universities during their worst ever crisis.
“Rather than stepping in with a robust support package, the Liberals and Nationals have pushed the cost of the crisis onto students and the university workforce. Livelihoods and careers will be destroyed and damaged by this legislation.
“Thousands of NTEU members, supporters, students and friends, including student organisations NUS and CAPA, have signed petitions, written submissions, attended online and in-person rallies, posted on social media, and written, phoned and emailed politicians expressing their opposition to this unfair legislation.
“The campaign to repeal this legislation and win fair university funding starts today and will run right up to the federal election. We need a fair and equitable higher education system where obtaining a degree doesn’t depend on your capacity to pay.”