The university was angry with the third set of changes in a month designed to exclude them from the $ 130 billion employer salary subsidy program, naming them the “last round of knives” that would ensure no one qualified.
The new rules for the program, released Friday night, require universities to calculate six-month incomes when calculating their projected decline, a change that puts $ 1,500 in payments per night per worker out of their reach.
On Monday, the University of Sydney, one of the last institutions still in debate for funding, announced it was no longer eligible.
This step follows a decision in April to exclude universities from more generous thresholds for charities to access the program, which means they must show a full 50% reduction in income or 30% for those who have incomes of less than $ 1 billion per year to qualify.
On April 24 the government clarified that universities must calculate their commonwealth grant funding for their income, despite changes that would allow other charities to ignore government grants.
Under the new one the rules, while other organizations such as business and charity can calculate their losses for a month or a quarter to qualify, universities must show the required reduction from January 1 to June 30.
The Executive Director of the Innovative Research University, Conor King, said after successive changes to the work guard, now it seems “no university can claim it”.
“The university has turned around with each round of knives, only allowed to heal ourselves every time,” he said. “This seems to be the knife’s final touch.”
“The lack of support will have an impact on how well the university will function in 2021 and beyond.”
The Vice Chancellor of Sydney University, Michael Spence, to staff on Monday he believes it qualifies and has been applied on the basis of “significant loss of income from student deferment and withdrawals in March for semester 1”.
“The government has changed this rule for universities and extended the period to show lost income … this means we are no longer entitled to receive work guard funds,” he said.
Spence assured staff that anyone who was paid a salary top-up in April in anticipation of receiving work keeper funds in May would be allowed to retain payments.
A spokesman for La Trobe said the university believed it was eligible for job guards based on a projected GST turnover reduction of more than 30% when comparing March 2020 with March 2019. But the university was later disqualified by the inclusion of Commonwealth grant funding schemes.
“By applying for job guards, we act in good faith by following the published ATO guidelines,” he said. “We are very disappointed that the application criteria have changed again.”
In April the education minister, Dan Tehan, announced a package of support including a guaranteed $ 18 billion of projected university funding and $ 100 million in regulator funding assistance, divided by the rest of the tertiary sector.
The university welcomed the package as a first step but warned it would not be enough to prevent 21,000 layoffs in the next six months in Australia’s third largest export sector.
Labor education spokesman Tanya Plibersek said the government “appeared determined not to do anything while the university suffered a major job loss and campus closure”.
“It will hurt families and communities throughout Australia, including in the regional area.”
A spokesman for the education department said the regulation was changed because the measurement of monthly income applied through “normal tests” was “potentially subject to greater variation due to time problems than the underlying economic drivers suggested”.
“Thus, the six-month test is designed to smooth out time variations.”
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