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Monday, 17 August 2009
Page: 5089


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (9:40 PM) —I move Greens amendment (2) on sheet 5736:

(2)    Schedule 1, item 5, page 5 (after line 16), after subsection (3), insert:

      (3A)    A higher education provider must consult its *student representative body and must not spend an amount paid to the provider as a *student services and amenities fee other than in accordance with a decision of that body.

       (3B)    For the purposes of this section, student representative body means the body of students elected by students to represent their interests to the higher education provider.

I assumed that my first amendment would not be supported. I assumed that the government did not want to allow students to administer their own money and I understand that has been their position for some time. Although I am disappointed and disagree with that, as do many student groups around the country, my second amendment, however, suggests that the institutions need to at least actively engage with their student bodies to consult with them about how the money would be spent. Again, why should students be paying $250 and not have a guaranteed say in how this money will be spent. It is simply left up to the goodwill of the universities to engage with their student bodies on how this money should be spent. In some universities that is going to work really well. In other universities it is not going to work so well. Numerous student groups from around the country have contacted us and said: ‘Our university has already said to us that we are not going to have a say in how this fee is spent when we start collecting it. We will be administering the fee and you will just have to cop it.’ That is not the way to treat students who are going to be forking out $250 of their own money to fund services that they need and that they know other people need. They need to be actively involved in deciding where that money will go. The universities should be compelled to discuss with their students how the money they are putting up will be spent.