CAPA elects a highly capable, diverse team to champion postgraduates in 2016

MEDIA RELEASE: CAPA elects a highly capable, diverse team to champion postgraduates in 2016

30 November 2015 – At its Annual Council Meeting (ACM) 25th – 27th November the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) have elected a highly capable, diverse team of postgraduate representatives to advocate for the needs of postgraduates in 2016, an election year.

Position Name Institution
National President Jim Smith Melbourne University
VP – Chair of National Operations Zhao (Joe) Lu Adelaide University
VP – Chair of Equity Alyssa Shaw ANU
Policy and Research Advisor Vikraman Selvaraja UWA
General Secretary Peter Hurley Monash University
Media Officer Natasha Abrahams Monash University
Women’s Officer Joanne Ruksenas Griffith University
Disability Officer Katy Brownless &
MD Aminal Haque
Curtin University
Queer Officer Vibol Hy Monash University
Eastern Branch President Yash Pandya UTS
Central Branch President Vacant By-election TBA
Northern Branch President Roberto Fragoso UQ
South-Eastern Branch President Dylan Styles Victoria University
Western Branch President Peter Derbyshire UWA
NATSIPA Liaison Officer Sharlene Leroy-Dyer Newcastle University

Table 1: Elected Officers, terms starting January 1 2016

Jim Smith the incoming 2016 president said ‘2016 will see CAPA campaigning heavily on the issues of importance to postgraduates and advocating strongly for an equitable, high quality and fairly-funded tertiary education system. We will continue to fight against cuts to research funding, inappropriate levels of income support for students and unfair changes to student fee contributions’.

‘Postgraduates currently have much at stake. CAPA calls on all political parties to engage in greater student consultation in their policy development and to ensure that equitable access and participation principles are at the heart of any policy agenda affecting postgraduates’.

Promoting the importance of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) is also shaping up to be key priority for CAPA in 2016.

‘We already see a need to start getting information out into the public domain and to start asking higher education stakeholders including universities, politicians and the community to give it their continuing support’.

‘The misguided motion which appeared on the Senate agenda last week calling on the government to amend the Higher Education Support Act 2013 ignored the value of the essential student services and representation that this funding supports and shows us that politicians are not currently well informed about the SSAF or the positive impact which it is having’.

‘The SSAF is a fee for non-academic services which can be levied by a university, It is an important source of funding for services ranging from food outlets, accommodation to sporting facilities, even counselling and medical services. It has been transforming campuses and the student experience at Australian universities since its introduction. It is essential for a high quality student experience, and to keep our universities internationally competitive’.

‘The 2016 team and I are looking forward to taking on these challenges, and I will be working with the outgoing president Harry Rolf to ensure that the needs of postgraduate students are front and centre in the year to come’ concluded Jim Smith.

Media Contacts:

Harry Rolf | National President 2015 |
Jim Smith | VP – Chair National Operations Committee & 2016 President |

Attachment: CAPA Submission

CAPA is concerned with the quality and integrity of international education, and the experience of international students coming to study in Australia. While streamlining will promote the growth and competitiveness of international education providers, a lack of regulation or oversight can lead unintended behaviour particularly when funding is involved. It is for this reason the CAPA is concerned with some aspects of the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment Bills (Registration Charges & Streamlining Regulation) 2015. CAPA makes this submission with the intention of ensuring that international students wellbeing is a concern and that they are protected from adverse behaviour, we offer the following two recommendations.


  1. CAPA recommends that the reporting of students that default continues in cases where that student has paid some or all of their fees to a course provider
  2. CAPA recommends that the fees collected for a course are still held in a separate account inaccessible to the course providers until the course commences unless that course has been successfully registered for more than 2 continuous years