MEDIA RELEASE: More pain for Australian research in brutal MYEFO cuts

More pain for Australian research in brutal MYEFO cuts

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) condemns the Federal Government’s decision to slash research funding as confirmed in the 2018/19 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released this morning.

This MYEFO gives more evidence of what this government has already demonstrated: that it does not value research or consider postgraduate education and the benefits it brings to Australia to be a priority. Proceeding with the short-sighted decision to decrease research payments by $328.5 million over four years is setting Australian research up for failure.

We are dismayed that some of this funding has been redirected into vote-buying, with $92.5 million pledged to increasing enrolments at universities in marginal seats – the very same universities who will be struggling to fund research thanks to these cuts.

The decision to slash research funding has come from a government which is openly hostile to universities. This funding cut must be considered in context of the Government’s other cuts to higher education over the past year, including the university funding freeze and lowering the student loan repayment threshold.

“These decisions have been made by a struggling Coalition desperate to buy votes ahead of the looming election – risking long-term consequences to the Australian economy as our research output lags behind,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.

“This government has shown they will cut at university funding until there is nothing left.”

CAPA furthermore calls on the Labor party to commit to reversing the funding cuts and dedicate more resources to research, should they form government in next year’s election.

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For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au

CAPA supports Greens’ commitments to postgrads

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the Australian Greens’ higher education policies, released today, which outline a fair and robust higher education system.

We strongly agree with all elements of the new policy package, particularly the reforms to study entitlements to include postgraduate students. Their policies include the extension of Austudy to all domestic full-time postgraduate students – a solution that CAPA has proposed through our Income Support for Postgrads campaign.

We applaud the inclusion of a policy on insecure work in universities, which would link federal funding to employment conditions of staff. Many postgraduate research students are precariously employed as teaching and research assistants in universities.

CAPA furthermore calls on Labor and the Coalition to reconsider their own higher education policies ahead of the 2019 federal election, with the Greens policies acting as a benchmark in this space.

“The Greens have listened to students and higher education workers in forming their higher education agenda, resulting in a sophisticated suite of policies which we hope will precipitate better policy from the other major parties,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.
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For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au

CAPA condemns Government’s attack on student representation

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is appalled to hear that Senator McGrath has, on one of the last sitting days of the year, moved a notice of motion for yet another attack on the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) and on the funding of student bodies and representation.

The member organisations of CAPA unanimously moved a motion during the recently concluded Annual Council Meeting, condemning this move by the government and reinstating CAPA’s support for and commitment to properly funded student representation, for which SSAF should be considered the minimum standard.

This is the latest move by the Government to signal their ideological opposition to universities. Over the past year, we have seen unrelenting funding cuts to research and universities, capstoned by the ARC funding scandal, as well as measures to rip money directly from students. The move to introduce voluntary student unionism signals that the Government wishes to disempower students from being able to effectively speak out against their actions towards universities and students. The introduction of voluntary student unionism would also mean the defunding of student rights services, which assist students who have experienced difficulties or disputes with their university.

“Cutting SSAF will mean the end of services which are beneficial to students’ wellbeing and their experience at university. SSAF is used to fund counselling, student rights and legal services at universities, as well as student associations which are an essential part of university landscape,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams.

“It is appalling that conservative voices in parliament which to see the end of these services due to their inherited, nonsensical ideological opposition to SSAF.”

Motion: that Council notes with disappointment the notice of motion raised by the government in the senate to launch yet another attack on SSAF, and reinstates our commitment to properly funded student representation.

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For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au

CAPA and NATSIPA strengthen ties for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate student representation

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is proud to continue our close working relationship with the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association (NATSIPA), empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices on postgraduate issues.

We welcome Victoria Van Schie as CAPA’s 2019 NATSIPA Liaison Officer. The NATSIPA Liaison Officer is appointed by NATSIPA to be a member of the CAPA Executive committee and ensures that our two organisations are both well-placed to advocate on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate students.

CAPA furthermore thanks our 2018 NATSIPA Liaison Officer, Dr Sharlene Leroy-Dyer, for her years of service to CAPA. We welcome her continued contributions, as she has also been appointed to the working group for implementation of CAPA’s new governance structure.

Finally, we extend our sincere thanks to the 2018 NATSIPA President, Dr Sadie Heckenberg, for her work with both organisations. We look forward to continued collaboration with NATSIPA under their incoming 2019 President, Gina Masterton.

NATSIPA National President Dr Sadie Heckenberg says, “NATSIPA greatly values our close ties with CAPA and their diverse team. Working together has meant greater representation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate students, and I have valued my time with both NATSIPA and CAPA.”

CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams says, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander postgraduate students experience unique challenges and opportunities, and we seek to continue working with NATSIPA in support of the wellbeing of this cohort.”

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For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au

2019 CAPA Office Bearers Elected

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is delighted to announce that a talented and enthusiastic team of national office bearers have been elected by our member organisations for 2019.

CAPA is proud to have successfully concluded its 2018 Annual Council Meeting, hosted at the University of Newcastle by its postgraduate representative body, Newcastle University Postgraduate Students Association. The conference included structural changes to the organisation including a modified and empowered executive body.

The 2019 executive is as follows:

President – Natasha Abrahams
General Secretary/Vice-President – Rachel Brisbane
Policy and Research Advisor – Owen Myles
Media Officer – Zoë Tulip
Women’s Officer – Romana-Rea Begicevic
International Officer – Devendra Singh
Disabilities Officer – Marguerite Biasatti
Queer Officer – Lauren Taylor
NATSIPA Liaison Officer – Victoria Van Schie

CAPA looks forward to implementing the 2019 goals, with a particular focus on mental health advocacy and campaigning on the financial challenges faced by postgraduate students. We are excited to continue our ongoing work, standing up for postgraduate students across the country with the new team.

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For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993
E: president@capa.edu.au