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Labor seeks amendment to save services at local universities.

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Media Release



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18 August 2005


Services at the five universities with campuses in the ACT - the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, Signadou, University of NSW and Charles Sturt University - could collapse if the Howard Government refuses to consider Labor’s compromise on student services. This could lead to at least 70 jobs being at risk at the ANU alone.

Labor is proposing an amendment to the Howard Government’s extreme anti-student legislation in the hope of salvaging on-campus services for students, said Member for Fraser, Bob McMullan.

Mr McMullan said, “The Howard Government is out of touch with the needs of students at the universities in my electorate.

“Under Labor’s proposal, fees collected from students would be administered by universities. Fees could only be spent on services for students such as child care, welfare and medical services, counselling, sporting clubs and facilities, student advocacy, subsidised food, accident insurance, accommodation, emergency loans and transport.

“But compulsory membership of student organisations - what the Howard Government says is the fundamental problem with current arrangements - would be abolished. Student guild or union membership for students would be optional.”

Mr McMullan said that many vital student services at local universities will collapse under the Education Minister’s legislation.

Of the five universities represented in Fraser, ANU and UC - where facilities and services help sustain local community life - will be the hardest hit.

Labor calls on the Howard Government to see reason and put the needs of students and local communities in Fraser ahead of ideology.

Mr McMullan said there is no reason for students to go without child care or a security bus because of Brendan Nelson’s ideological obsessions.

Labor strongly opposes the Howard Government’s push to end current arrangements for funding student services but hopes this compromise will encourage the Education Minister to see reason before proceeding with legislation that will destroy campus life.

The list of services to be protected follows.

List of university services to be protected