Uni staff, students to chant against change

May 30, 2024 BY

Action: Brett Edgington is one of the people behind tomorrow’s rally against Federation University’s proposed job cuts. Photo: TIM BOTTAMS

FEDERATION University academics and students, with community members, will push back against the institution’s impending staff layoffs with a rally tomorrow afternoon.

The protest is being organised through the Ballarat Regional Trades and Labour Council with FedUni’s National Tertiary Education Union branch members, and former’s secretary, Brett Edgington said the cuts could lead to further detriment.

“The immediate aim is to stop the forced redundancy of their workforce across the campuses,” he said. “In the long-term we want the vice-chancellor and senior executive to reconsider the direction they’re taking the university.

“The university’s cutting back on academic staff and course offerings has been a really significant change. Courses that students were keen to take up or were finishing, Federation no longer offers.

“Federation University is a very important institution not just to Ballarat but to regional Victoria.

“It’s where many people who are the first in their families to do tertiary study have an opportunity when Melbourne isn’t a viable option.”

Following nearly $80 million in revenue loss over the past five years due to shortages in international student intake between 2019 and 2023, FedUni announced in March that about 200 jobs will be cut at the tertiary institution.

The rally will be held at the corner of Lydiard and Sturt streets on the steps of the Post Office Gallery, Federation University’s public art exhibition space.

Kicking off from 2pm, the event will see speeches from Mr Edgington as well as NTEU sub-branch president Dr Mathew Abbott and secretary Colin Muir, after which the microphone will be handed to students and staff.

Mr Edgington said he hopes holding the rally on Ballarat’s main thoroughfare will draw greater public attention to their cause than past campaigns.

“We’ve had a few big rallies out at the Mount Helen campus but it’s something the public don’t see,” he said.

“The idea behind bringing it to a prominent corner in Ballarat is to really allow the public to see staff and students have a lot of problems with the university.”

Staff and students previously rallied against the issue at the start of the month at the Mount Helen campus which followed similar action at the Berwick campus a few days prior.