Hundreds of university workers and students will converge on Brisbane’s Southbank tomorrow to join the protest called by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) against the cuts to jobs at Griffith University and the lack of support for higher education coming from the federal government.
NTEU Queensland Secretary, Michael McNally, said, “The Morrison Government has deserted higher education in the face of its biggest crisis. The sector has lost billions in revenue from international students but the Morrison Government has excluded universities from JobKeeper and failed to provide a rescue package.” McNally went on to say, “in the midst of the biggest crisis the sector has faced, Minister Dan Tehan announced funding changes that reduce even further the average funding universities will receive for domestic students.”
NTEU Griffith University Branch President, Garry McSweeney, said it was all about Griffith management’s priorities. “Management’s proposal to cut 300 jobs is unnecessary and arbitrary,” he said. “International student numbers are affected and revenue is down, but it’s all about management’s priorities. They are still proceeding with building a $280 million white elephant CBD campus and they want to keep more than $200 million in their short term investment funds,” he stated. “Putting new buildings and bank balances before staff and students goes against everything universities stand for,” McSweeney added.
NTEU University of Queensland Branch President, Associate Professor Andrew Bonnell, said that he expected a big rally. “UQ members will be turning out in numbers, because this isn’t just about Griffith’s slash and burn approach,” Bonnell said. “Thousands of casual and fixed-term staff across the country have already lost their livelihoods. Every university is affected,” he added. Bonnell went on to say, “UQ has the resources to weather the storm better than most, but there will be major cuts to staff and programs here if the Morrison government doesn’t do something to assist the sector.”