50 signatures reached
To: Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor
More Affordable Housing for ANU Students
“Our rent was $450/week, and only just affordable for our family (one PhD student with scholarship, one postgrad coursework on Centrelink carers allowance, one toddler). The house was freezing in winter (inadequate window coverings and heating) and was maintained to a very basic standard. At the time, we felt lucky to get a house at all as the agents we spoke to when attending rental open homes treated with us with contempt.”
- PARSA Accommodation Survey, 2018
PARSA is asking the university to enact the following to ensure that all students are able to make Canberra their home away from home:
1. The publication of a communications plan and policy document which includes a formal commitment to the first-year postgraduate accommodation guarantee by February 2021, designating a clear responsible ANU staff member;
2. The establishment of a university liaison office to facilitate affordable, accessible and adequate off-campus accommodation for students;
3. The provision of sufficient temporary accommodation for July 2019 for arriving students, which is available for the first two months of semester (the Accommodation Gap);
4. The provision of more affordable on-campus housing options for students who are reliant on scholarships, stipends and Centrelink payments;
5. The exploration of establishing more accommodation bursaries and subsidies for low-income students;
6. The prioritisation of the on-campus accommodation applications of students with disabilities, and for all on-campus accommodations to be retrofitted to meet the needs of students with access requirements; and
7. The streamlining of on-campus accommodation policies such as 48 vs. 52 week contracts, temporary guests and contract transfers.
Why is this important?
Whilst the ANU has made great strides to tackle the complicated issue of providing accommodation for a growing student population, there are still many pressing and urgent issues for postgraduate students that must be addressed. There are still postgraduate students being exploited by predatory landlords, skipping meals to pay for the bare necessities, and sleeping rough in the library and their offices to ensure that they have a safe place to sleep at night.
In recognising that the ANU is providing additional accommodation for students in the upcoming years, it is not merely enough to have this accommodation available, it also needs to be accessible, affordable and adequate. Additionally, to meet the first-year guarantee, second- and third-year students will need to seek accommodation off-campus in a city that was just named the most expensive rent market in Australia.