Higher education staff are outraged that a top US university will receive JobKeeper wage subsidies if Australian institutions lag behind.
Public university staff blame thousands of job losses for the Morrison government’s decision to exclude them from the JobKeeper scheme.
They are baffled that New York University Sydney campus is eligible for the payments.
Alison Barnes, president of the National Tertiary Education Union, said Australian public universities have already cut more than 11,000 jobs and more will be cut.
“The Morrison administration has changed the rules three times to prevent these universities from accessing JobKeeper,” Dr. Barnes said Friday.
Still, four private universities in Australia and even the New York University campus in Sydney have gained access to JobKeeper.
“How can the government allow this to happen? The higher education sector is being decimated daily. Most of this job loss could have been avoided if universities had been able to access JobKeeper.”
Green Senator Mehreen Faruqi accused the federal government of double standards.
“The government should have exactly the same rules for universities and not try to exclude public universities,” she said.
But treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Australian universities are funded by taxpayers in other ways.
“That’s not support available to foreign universities that might have a domestic campus, so it’s a different situation,” he told reporters.
“You’re talking about an apple and an orange.”
The industry is under tremendous pressure, with the Australian National University and the University of NSW announcing major job cuts this week.
While about 250 ANU staff have been fired voluntarily, another 215 will go over the next nine months.
UNSW, which has also accepted voluntary redundancies, will train an additional 256 staff.
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