In this pre-election 2018/19 Federal Budget, the best students can hope for is to be forgotten.
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) is disappointed but not surprised that the Government continues to prioritise everything except students.
There are over 400,000 forgotten postgraduate students in Australia, including over 240,000 domestic postgraduate students who are voters. There continues to be no commitment to income support for domestic research students or postgraduate coursework students. We know that the lack of income support is an urgent problem for postgraduate students, yet the Government has completely ignored this issue.
As far as postgraduate students are concerned, the only value in this budget is that the Government has finally committed to funding the 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. We await details on how this will operate.
In a further example of postgraduate students being totally ignored, the Government’s deals to provide Commonwealth Supported Places to three marginal-seat universities have nothing for future postgraduate students, with all places allocated to study at a Bachelor level or below. These sweetheart deals do little to reverse the damage wreaked by the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) cuts to higher education announced just before Christmas last year.
In this budget – the last before a Federal election – the good news is that the latest blows to the higher education sector are not as devastating as they could have been. If these damages are legislated, universities will have to stump up fees if they wish for their students to access loans, as well as shouldering the cost of regulatory body TEQSA within three years.
“Postgraduate students are important contributors to our nation’s research output and will become even more important in the future as we require a highly skilled workforce,” said CAPA national president, Natasha Abrahams. “It is disheartening that postgraduate students have once again been left out of the national agenda.”
For further comment:
CAPA National President
P: 0430 076 993