The Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham announced on October 5 that the federal government will shut down the failed VET FEE-HELP scheme.

The scheme, which has been comprehensively rorted by private for-profit providers, will be replaced with a new more tightly regulated and capped loans scheme.

The government will prohibit the use of brokers to recruit students and place greater emphasis on students actually completing courses.

The Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) new higher education policy, announced on September 21, risks being indistinguishable from that of the Coalition under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

That is because the new Prime Minister has signalled a departure from the bully-boy antics of former education minister Christopher Pyne, who had threatened to introduce his doomed education cuts a third time to the Senate this spring.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) announced on October 27 that it will join the movement to screen out fossil fuel interests from its investment portfolio. It will also look for ethical investment opportunities in renewable energy.

It is the first Australian union to commit to divest from fossil fuels, and follows its decision to adopt a position on ethical investment at its national meeting held in Melbourne, October 8-10.

The union represents tens of thousands working at tertiary education institutions around the country.

The National Tertiary Education Union, which covers university staff across Australia, is backing the November 27-29 People's Climate March.

In a letter to members, NTEU NSW secretary Genevieve Kelly wrote: “NTEU is proud to be part of a broad and diverse coalition organising the People's Climate March, with members involved in planning and promoting Sydney's rally.

“We are marching because we know we can change the world when we work together. It is time for action.”

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union and the Education Action Group at the University of Sydney rallied on March 16 against the university's proposed cuts to faculties and degrees.

The protest was called in response to Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson announcing, shortly before Christma, that the University senate had passed a plan to restructure the University.

Last month 20,000 people rallied against education cuts by the state government.

Following a stalemate over pay in enterprise bargaining negotiations, Murdoch University members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted to go to a ballot for industrial action.

The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on October 21.


Australian immigration officials have refused to grant a visa to a Bangladeshi union activist on the basis that he is too poor.

The activist's trip was to be sponsored by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) as part of its contribution to Anti-Poverty Week, which draws attention to issues of poverty and social exclusion.

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and supporters picketed the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney (UWS) on October 30 during a half-day strike, as part of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement at UWS.

This followed a similar strike and picket of the university's Parramatta campus on October 23.

Members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at Macquarie University held a strike and picket on March 11 as part of their campaign to win a fair enterprise agreement and a quick resolution to bargaining.

Union members picketed the main entrances to the university and distributed leaflets to students and staff explaining the reasons for the strike.

A motion to dismiss the vice president of the University of Sydney Union (USU), Tom Raue, failed to pass at a board meeting on April 17.

Raue's supporters erupted with delight when the motion, moved by the USU president, did not get the required two thirds majority.


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