03 February 2012

Status of Negotiations in 2012

The USU Board wishes to announce that the negotiations between the USU and the University over the control of the commercial operations have concluded for the time being. By the 31 December 2011, the USU and University were unable to come to a conclusive agreement on the future management of the commercial operations. The USU therefore entered 2012 as a financially independent entity, as the funding provided by the University through the Service Level Agreement ended last year.

The Vice-Chancellor notified the USU Board of the negotiations concluding in a letter at the end of January by stating, “In the circumstances, I doubt that further negotiations could produce anything of merit or value”. It is unfortunate that the USU and University could not come to a mutually-acceptable outcome for the benefit of all members of the University community. However, the USU is entering 2012 with a business-as-usual approach, which means we will continue to focus our attention on providing the best the student experience in the country.

The USU also looks forward to working with the University on expanding our student programs under the new funding arrangements provided by the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF). The University is yet to determine how the estimated $10.4 million in fee income will be spent, and the USU is currently in the process of applying for a portion of the funds. A full statement and update on the SSAF negotiations and other matters will be provided next week. Until that time please let us know any questions or concerns you have by commenting on this post below.  

Yours sincerely,

Sibella Matthews


  1. Hi, I was wondering if you could comment on the difference/overlap between services provided by funds from the Access card vs the new SSA fee. I paid my Access/union membership upfront for 2011-2013; now of course I've been notified of the SSA fee and I'm wondering whether this sort of amounts to paying twice for similar things..? Hope you might be able to clarify for me. Thanks, Jolyn

  2. I've done the same thing as Jolyn, and as we apparently have to pay by the 12th Feb, I'm sure we'd both appreciate some clarification soon. Cheers

  3. Hi guys, thanks for your questions. The SSAF funds are still yet to be distributed by the University so no-one knows what services will be covered by the fee. As the funds don't go directly to student organisations, there is currently no overlap between the services provided by the USU and those provided by the SSAF. Therefore, paying the SSAF will not give you USU membership or an Access card.

    The Union will be selling the Access card this year, and students will have the choice of joining for life of degree as you both did. Benefits such as joining clubs and societies, discounts on and off campus and participating in the USU's student leadership program are only available with an Access card, and we're really proud to be providing these services. Don't forget to drop by O-Week so you can pick up your member bag too.

    More information will be provided in a full statement this week, so please stay tuned.

  4. The University began providing free internet service (of course we should always have had that) from last year so maybe they had decrease in profits last year because of that so maybe trying to cover that among other things I presume. Also with no full-fee paying places anymore for domestic students and assuming that the last batch of full-fee paying students graduated in 2011 (because it was terminated as of 2008)the University desperately needed a new source of income. If USU gets a portion of that it's a different story though. What I just said would be partially true if there are no new services provided by the University. Domenic.

  5. I have two questions with regard to this:

    1 - Does this have anything to do with Donut King closing? Because that was a travesty!

    2 - Will Uni Brothers stay open? Because to them too would be disgraceful

  6. Hi Anon,

    The negotiations did not cause Donut King to close. Donut King's lease ran out and they were unable to renew. Uni Bros will not be closing any time soon. Also, we hope you're enjoying our two new outlets in the Wentworth Food Court - Raw Health Food Bar and Little Asia.

  7. Wait a minute, so do we know what the university plans to do with the money it got from the SAFF fees? Because from what it sounds like everything is going to remain the same (with the union providing the services).

    1. It seems that the university is using the Student Amenities fee as leverage in their negotiations against the union - essentially holding the union to ransom regarding funding, until they do exactly what the Uni wants them to do. Which is a shitty thing to do. Want to show your support for the union? Get an access card, and write angry emails to Michael Spence - the only way to give the union a chance in this situation is if students come out and support them, and loudly. Find out what the USU is doing and get involved!

      (And no, I'm not involved in the USU. I just don't like what Michael Spence is doing to my old university in the name of some very misguided "fiscal responsibility".)