Swinburne's $2.85 million wage theft reignites calls for action

Media Release
30 April 2024

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has called for major changes to university governance after Swinburne admitted $2.85 million in wage theft from staff.
Swinburne University staff were underpaid $2.6 million, while employees at the part-privately owned Swinburne College are owed $250,000.
The underpayments, which the university reported to the Fair Work Ombudsman, affect about 1800 staff.
A federal and state ministerial meeting on Friday resolved to work with the NTEU to ensure universities became exemplary employers, with the higher education wage theft tally now exceeding $170 million.
NTEU Swinburne Branch President Dr Julie Kimber said:
“The NTEU raised several issues over Swinburne’s payroll practices with the Wage Inspectorate in 2022. 
“Despite repeated requests to the University to audit its payroll system, nothing was done. 
“We urge the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate why the University has only just notified this issue despite being aware of the problems for over two years. 
“Given this wilful inaction, those responsible must be held to account. A voluntary self-report should not be a get-out-of-jail free card. 
“We now have a vice-chancellor who got a $250,000 private ensuite built for her also responsible for multi-million dollar wage theft.”
NTEU National President Dr Alison Barnes said:
“It’s infuriating and unacceptable that university staff keep suffering wage theft despite our union highlighting more than $170 million in underpayments across Australia.
“Federal and state governments must pull unaccountable vice-chancellors into line for this shocking behaviour that is leaving workers millions of dollars out of pocket.
“The explosion of insecure work and broken governance system is fuelling the systemic wage theft plaguing public universities.” 
Media contacts: 
Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 / [email protected]

Related Posts


NTEU Elections 2024

Nominations for the 2024 NTEU elections open 29 May 2024.


Federal budget first step in desperately needed university reform

The National Tertiary Education Union has described the federal budget as a first step on the road to major reform universities desperately need.


Supporting Human Rights and Academic Freedom

NTEU joins with many others in Palestine, Israel, Australia and internationally to reiterate demands for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, and the lifting