More Support Needed for Higher EdMedia Release
Corangamite MP Libby Coker has labelled the Federal Government’s response to the crisis in the higher education sector as ‘pathetic’.
Yesterday, Deakin University announced a potential 300 job losses and a possible loss up to $80-110 million in this financial year and $250-300m by the end of 2021 as international student enrolments evaporate.
Education is Australia’s fourth largest export behind resources and supports 260,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
“If the Government doesn’t act now we are looking at job losses on an industrial scale. All the Government has done is to promise to deliver the pre-coronavirus funding already committed to the universities. This won’t offset the huge losses from the drop in international and interstate students. “
“The announcement in early April of 20,000 on-line short courses is a fraud,” Ms Coker said. “Universities are expected to bear the burden of reduced fees at the same time their revenue is plummeting.”
“International students are an essential part of the Geelong regional economy. They create around 720 jobs and generate about $115m in business activity each year. That is mostly at Deakin but also at Gordon TAFE and in some secondary schools. All the services and demand that these students generate is massive and their loss will leave a real hole in our local economy.”
Ms Coker noted that Deakin has used $25m of its own money to set up an emergency fund for international students.
Deakin University has indicated it is not eligible for the Governments Jobkeeper subsidy for staff affected by Covid-19 because it hasn’t had a 50% reduction in income (being a business of more than $1 billion).
I’m told that Deakin isn’t eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy and this means, potentially, hundreds of locals will be left with severely reduced incomes should job losses occur. It is disappointing that the Government has refused to make universities eligible for JobKeeper payments on the same basis as other not-for-profit organisations. The Treasurer could fix this with the stroke of a pen,” Ms Coker said.
Ms Coker called on the Morrison government to step up to deliver a real assistance package to the higher education sector.
Ms Coker said that there are many flaws in the Government’s response to Covid-19.
“Overall the Government response to Covid-19 had been fulsome and Labor has cooperated constructively to make sure money has flowed as quickly as possible to workers, families and businesses. But many people and sectors are falling through the cracks,” Ms Coker said.
“Apart from universities and higher education, over 1 million casuals have missed out on Jobkeeper subsidies, many employers are refusing to sign up to Jobkeeper, carers are missing out on increased Jobseeker subsidies, the ‘free’ childcare reforms have left the sector reeling because the free care isn’t funded and the fate of 16000 Virgin workers has been left to the ‘market’. These are all significant problems and they need to be fixed.”
“It’s time the Morrison Government listened to the community about the continuing problems with their various assistance packages.”Share Tweet