Universities Australia today calls on the Federal Senate to ensure the availability of quality student support services and amenities at Australias universities, through passage of the Higher EducationLegislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities, and Other Measures) Bill 2009.
As well as important sports services, stressed by some senators, there are many essential university services such as health care, counselling and career advice, child care facilities, and independent advocacy and legal support that provide a safety net for all students," Universities Australia Chief Executive Dr Glenn Withers said today.
Without this legislation, universities will have to continue cross-subsidising from their core teaching and research budgets, at a time when their budgets are under pressure.
If Australia is to achieve a goal of greater participation in university study by students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, support for these services and amenities is vital.
They especially assist students away from home networks, such as rural and regional students and many international students.
No student will be obligated to join a student union or guild under this legislation, and there is clear assurance that funds will not find their way to student political activity, due to the guidelines which must be approved by both Houses of Parliament and through required university oversight of all spending, Dr Withers said.
Universities Australia welcomes the option to defer payment of the levy through an income contingent loan.
Additional HELP debt incurred will be small and the value of the services large, Dr Withers said.
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