The SSAF Must Go
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The SSAF Must Go

The SSAF Must Go

Labor’s tax on students faces election heat.

When polling booths open on 24th September this year, the more than 30,000 undergraduate students of this University will have the opportunity to elect their 88th Student Representative Council.

Any serious candidate for the SRC will have a position on whether they believe it is fair to tax every student $286, regardless of whether or not the student utilises any of the services and ‘amenities’ made available to them.

Hardworking, mainstream students will have minimal or no contact with these services as they’re too busy with their studies, casual work and/or an internship, yet an ever-increasing fee is prised out of their wallets each year.

Through the SRC, the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) funds extremist ‘collectives’ such as the ‘Education Action Group’, a group known for their run-ins with police. Their behaviour, like so many of the other collectives on campus are hardly representative of the student body, let alone deserving of student money. The SSAF also funds, (again, through the SRC) the University of Sydney’s affiliation to the National Union of Students – a highly dysfunctional organisation.

Just like larger unions, the NUS is wrestled over by Labor factions and offers a case study in the unrepresentative fiscal vandalism which occurs as the inevitable result of the conflicting (yet comprehensively warped) set of priorities amongst the student political class.

Disturbingly, your 87th SRC used your money to pay $63,000 in affiliation fees to the struggling NUS and additionally more than $2500 in travel costs for each of the seven elected delegates from our University. In total, the NUS received $81,000 of your money.

To his credit, current SRC President, Mr Kyol Blakeney oversaw a reduction in the affiliation fee paid to the NUS by around $10,000. This is certainly a step in the right direction, however there is nothing to stop a Labor-controlled 88th SRC from increasing the affiliation fee paid, to above 2014 levels.

Any candidate who seeks to further reduce or eliminate the affiliation between the University of Sydney and the National Union of Students will rightly receive praise from this newspaper and the too often silent majority of students.
Unlike some of the illusory activities of collectives, there are a lot of tangible things students could do with this $286 if it was not taken from their wallets against their will. For starters, it is at least two cups of coffee for each week a student is on campus for the year, it is nearly a semester’s worth of Opal travel and for a lot of students living close to campus; it is more than one week’s rent.

Even with the limited time and incomes of students, the market is still the best method for allocating resources, so the programs, activities and events that students actually desire or need will be appropriately funded if a user-pay system were implemented. The student political class’ obsession with identity and minority politics continues to remain a threat to this ever eventuating and consequently, a threat to the free-will and freedom of choice of all students.

The SSAF embodies the very worst of the legacy left by the Gillard government’s coalition with the Greens; unrepresentative, reckless and costly policy failures. So why then, do student politicians insist on continuing to fund radical groups and unruly organisations? And furthermore, why do they think that it is in the best interest of the majority of students to do so?

When will we as students be represented by peers who stand up for the rights and best interests of all us? When will our representatives ensure that we keep our scarce money in our pockets so we are free to spend it at our own discretion?

It is therefore absolutely imperative that when the SRC election rolls around in September, you, as students of this University, find out how the candidates are really going to spend their allocation of the near $300 the University is legislated to take from you.

Students deserve the right to decide where they spend their money. Any candidate who seeks to lobby Canberra for the SSAF to be scrapped will have the support of this newspaper.

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