November 29, 2022
After just a fortnight of discussion, the Australian senate has today voted through a bill dismantling the Students Service and Amenities Fee (SSAF).
The bill, introduced by the LNP, received little media attention and faced only minor opposition as it passed through the lower and upper houses.
The result comes after years of slow-building campaigns against the fee, spearheaded by the Liberal government and supported by student Liberal factions across the country.
SSAF, which was introduced by the Gillard government in 2012, was paid by all university students as a way of creating a pool of money from which student services and organisations could draw funding.
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC), for example, received approximately 95 per cent of its funding from SSAF in previous years.
Its esteemed publication, Honi Soit, will likely disaffiliate and become an independent publication unless the SRC secures alternative sources of funding.
The University of Sydney Union (USU) and Sydney University Sport and Fitness (SUSF) also depend heavily on SSAF money, with SUSF getting around 30 per cent of the $15 million total.
It is unclear what the future of the SRC and other student organisations such as SUPRA will be; essential services such as the SRC’s caseworkers and lawyers, who are available free to any student, rely on SSAF funding to operate.