Welfare

 

 

Jill Molloy

 National Welfare Officer 

 welfare@nus.asn.au

 0423 507 010 

 

What is the Welfare Department?

The Welfare Department is responsible for ensuring Australian university students have a national voice in regards to their health, wellbeing and the costs associated with taking on higher education. 

It seems that among some policy makers there exists a fanciful belief that the popular 1980s British sitcom The Young Ones is representative of students – lazy, militant, indolent lay-abouts that do no work. Amongst other policy makers exists a belief that there is a certain ‘romance’ in student poverty. This is an utter load of bullocks. 

Students are one of the hardest working sections of the community, yet, according to Universities Australia, two-thirds have experienced financial distress while at uni and a further fifth have skipped meals due to financial concerns.

The role of the Welfare Department is to coordinate national campaigns that seek to ensure students are not be forced to choose between rent, food, textbooks and healthcare, that they know their rights at work, and that their time at university is safe, affordable and fun. 

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Campaigns in 2016

Have you ever wondered why university textbooks cost so much?

Well, it’s mostly because of the inflationary pressures produced by Parallel Import Restrictions (or PIRs for short), which restrict the importation of foreign printed textbooks with the exact same content. This means that publishers and printers in Australia can name their price, leaving students with a nasty bill at the start of each semester.

Unfortunately, many students cannot afford to foot the bill for excessively priced textbooks - either they are earning a limited income or have moved out of home, so expenses like rent, food and bills come first. They could of course try going to the library to access required readings for each subject, but quite often there are only a few copies of the required course materials in the library. 

This could leave many students without the essential content they need to complete assessments and do well in our studies, which can impact both their grades and ultimately make the goal of graduating much more difficult than it needs to be. 

NUS is fighting to change this. 

You can sign the petition here: bit.do/CheaperTextbooksNow

Alternatively, you can print off the #CheaperTextbooksNow petition sheet here and get friends to sign it too!

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In response to the proposed $650 million worth of cuts to health care, the NUS Welfare Department is working with various community groups to fight against the changes. The government seeks to cut bulk billing for MRI's, urine tests, blood tests, X-rays, pap smears and ultrasounds - cuts, that according to the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia President, Michael Harrison, will force patients to fork out at least $30 for some tests.

Students are already strapped for cash and forcing extra charges upon them is only going to act as a deterrence for seeking medical treatment, and lead to late detection of health problems - which will ultimately cost the taxpayer more in the long run. Accessible pathology tests are essential to ensure early prevention treatments are possible. NUS stands opposed to damaging changes to our Medicare system.