NTEU News | 11 June 2013
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the National Union of Students (NUS) are joining forces to protest higher education cuts on Wednesday 12 June at a private Labor Party fundraiser in Fremantle where Prime Minister Julia Gillard is speaking. It looks like being a colourful demonstration, and certainly not the sort of colour and movement the Prime Minister desperately needs: the NTEU and NUS will be joined at John Curtin College of the Arts Fremantle by groups representing refugees, single parents and same-sex marriage advocates.
Gabe Gooding, NTEU WA Division Secretary, says that the latest $2.3bn cuts to university and student funding represent a double whammy for higher education in the West:
In 2015, the year when these cuts will really start to bite, the number of school leavers who would otherwise be enrolling in university will reduce by half, due to changes in the school leaving age. These two decisions at the state and Federal level will imperil higher education in the West. They will reduce WA’s capacity to meet the critical skill shortages occurring as universities try to manage on smaller budgets.
And, as highlighted in David Williamson’s 2012 NTEU Lecture in Fremantle last year, creative arts courses are the canary in the mine – the first to snuff it (or be snuffed) when danger looms. Even before these latest cuts, institutions such the West Australian Academy of the Performing Arts, regarded as one of best of its kind world-wide, were already sacking staff and cutting courses.