CSU will consider unionism change

A BILL repealing the Howard government’s voluntary student unionism legislation was passed by the Senate yesterday, however Charles Sturt University said it will need time to consult with students before deciding whether to reintroduce it.

From next year universities will be able to charge students a fee to cover the cost of support services such as advocacy, sporting clubs and student societies.

The Bill was passed after four days of debate in the Senate.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports universities and many student groups are strongly in favour of the bill, which will restore certainty to funding campus services by allowing universities to charge a compulsory fee of up to $263 per student.

Legislation was passed in 2005 banning universities from collecting such fees.

Charles Sturt University is still to formally issue a response regarding the change to the legislation.

A university spokesman said yesterday that CSU will take some time to consider the legislation and consult with students before reintroducing any fee.

He said CSU will consider pro-rata rates for part-time and distance education students.

Ashley Innes, president of the CSU Student Senate, said she believes the reintroduction of the legislation would be a good thing because the Student Representative Council (SRC) will gain a little independence as a result.

She said the fee would contribute to such services as advocacy, university clubs and student services which include health and childcare.

“It would enrich the student experience in general,” Ms Innes said.

“This is all very new, obviously, but we are hopeful it will be introduced at CSU.”

The decision to make student unionism voluntary cost universities across the country millions in funding and resulted in the slashing of a wide range of student programs.