Australian Greens Senator for NSW and Education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has said that the government’s Higher Education Relief Package fails universities, staff and students in a time of crisis. She also has said that the government’s messaging is unnecessarily parochial and alienating for hundreds of thousands of students.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Guaranteeing the funding already budgeted for 2020 does not provide stability. Universities and TAFEs are absolutely central to the research, reskilling, education and training we need to survive this crisis and build a just economy and society afterwards. We need more than just life support for higher education.
“University funding has been falling for many years. Now is the time to introduce free university and TAFE for all, with a big funding boost to secure jobs and ensure the long term success of higher education in Australia.
“The terrible decision by the government to abandon university staff means they will continue to face uncertainty and instability. Higher education providers should be eligible for JobKeeper payments and all staff, including all casuals, should be supported through this very difficult time.
“Stop-gaps like regulatory fee relief and online short courses aren’t enough, nor can they justify the government passing the buck on student welfare. Universities have been forced to become food banks by a government that refuses to give desperate international students any form of income support.
“The whole higher education sector needs support right now, and TAFE should not be neglected or forgotten about.
“The parochial flavour to the government’s ‘domestic students first’ messaging, while leaving international students destitute, is outrageous. A failure to support our international students also alienates and marginalises hundreds of thousands of students we welcomed here,” she said.