Uni union concerned, despite assurances

DESPITE assurances by University of Tasmania vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen that there would be no new job losses due to federal government funding cuts, the staff and student union remains deeply concerned.

The National Tertiary Education Union state branch and the Tasmania University Union issued a statement yesterday saying that while they welcomed Professor Peter Rathjen's comments, they retained concerns about possible student fee rises and staff cuts.

The former federal Labor government announced last year it would fund the Gonski reforms by cutting about $2 billion from universities.

It was revealed earlier this week that the university would lose $23 million in federal funding.

"We appreciate that the vice- chancellor has written to reassure staff that budgets for 2014 and subsequent years have factored in the potential for cuts, and that the university expects to maintain its staffing and breadth of operations," state staff union president Dr Kelvin Michael said.

"We are deeply concerned, however, that this is delaying an inevitable rise in student fees or staff cuts unless public funding is restored to adequate levels."

Independent Denison MHR Andrew Wilkie said for the government to go through with the cuts, it demonstrated how out of touch it was.

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