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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 1845


Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (11:57): I move:

That the Senate—

   (a)   notes that:

      (i)   both universities and students recognise the contribution that student organisations, associations, unions and democratically elected student representatives make to the vibrancy of university culture, student life and the value of gaining a university degree for students,

      (ii)   under legislation passed in 2011 to restore student services on campuses via a student services and amenities fee, universities must consult with student organisations, associations, unions and democratically elected student representatives, and can develop funding agreements to pass on the fees they collect from students,

      (iii)   while some universities have both consulted and struck good funding agreements with these student organisations to pass on student services fees, other universities have still not made any commitment to pass on the student services fees they have collected to their student organisations,

      (iv)   many student organisations, associations, unions and democratically elected student representatives, which have been starved of money since the Howard Government era of voluntary student unionism, are struggling to re-establish essential student services such as subsidised day care, legal services, emergency loans and book banks, and

      (v)   the failure of some universities to make funding arrangements with these student organisations is causing uncertainty about the level and quality of services that can be provided to students in 2012; and

   (b)   calls on the Government to encourage all universities to consult with and develop funding agreements with student organisations, associations, unions and democratically elected student representatives to pass on a proportion of the student services and amenities fees collected.

The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Rhiannon be agreed to.