National Union of Students announces changes after $9,500 mismanaged

Office-bearers will receive more information and training in handover, and the organisation has created a new committee to approve purchases between $400 and $1000.

The National Union of Students (NUS) announced a suite of changes yesterday in response to financial mismanagement revealed by Honi earlier this year. 

The organisation, which is the peak representative body for Australian students, acknowledged that 2021 General Secretary Param Mahal had entered a $9,500 consultancy contract without the knowledge of the National Executive. Mahal engaged 2020 General Secretary Samuel Roberts, who also belonged to Unity (Labor Right), as a consultant in starting a new international student organisation.

Further, Mahal released the second instalment of the payment during the term of 2022 General Secretary, Emily Sagolj, who ultimately raised the matter.

The NUS’ statement confirmed that 50 per cent of the payment has been returned and that no further services will be provided within the consultancy.

Going forward, the Union is making a set of changes to how it manages its financial affairs.

The NUS Executive Committee, consisting of the President, General Secretary, Education Officer, and Welfare Officer, has been newly-formed to approve expenses between $400 and $1000.

The National Executive will be required to approve any expenses over $1000. 

Additionally, the NUS has committed to equipping all National Executive members with detailed profit and loss reports, and further upskilling in office-bearer handovers. Outgoing office-bearers will be strictly removed from accessing NUS bank accounts.

The Executive also committed to improving transparency by providing detailed minutes and inviting student media to attend.