3 March 2023
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has raised serious concerns the WA Government's university review is mistimed, misdirected and lacks transparency.
The NTEU has also sounded the alarm that any push to merge or amalgamate the state's four public universities through the review process could lead to job losses and damage teaching quality.
The review was announced by WA Premier Mark McGowan and Education Minister Dr Tony Buti last week.
But the NTEU is urging the Government to reconsider the timing and purpose of the review.
"Sunlight is the best disinfectant but this review inexplicably favours closed-door consultation with hand-picked parties over public submissions," NTEU WA Division Secretary Dr Catherine Moore said.
"Purpose needs to be the foundation of any review - but even that isn't clear.
"It doesn't make sense to have a state review when the Federal Government is canvassing the biggest changes to the sector in more than a decade through the so-called Accord process.
"We're calling on the WA Government to rule out examining merging the state's universities as a result of the review.
"It's hard to see how any merger or amalgamation proposal could exist without mass job losses.
"Any easy win for research funding would be more than offset by worsening staff-to-student ratios which have a major impact on teaching satisfaction. Students could suffer and universities' reputation may be damaged.
"The idea that merging either some, or all, of WA's four public Universities in Western Australia into one super-institution, which will be a panacea to all the issues faced by WA universities, is at best naïve.
"Public universities are a public good. Their mission to provide quality teaching, research, infrastructure and expertise to communities must be at the core of any review.
"A review into the state's public universities must focus on governance including budget mismanagement and how high-paid, plum jobs are handed out to senior executives.
"Bulging senior management pay packets and expensive new buildings need proper accountability.
"It beggars belief that consultation is limited to Vice-Chancellors and 'relevant stakeholders' when staff, students and the public must be at the heart of the process."
Contact: Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480 / [email protected]
Or NTEU WA Division [email protected]