In SSAF Hands

25 February 2016

A motion passed by the governing body of the student union will aim to raise awareness of services provided by the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF).

The motion, proposed by UMSU general secretary James Bashford, requires that all publications, including Farrago, must clearly display a graphic which demonstrates that the product was funded by the SSAF.

“There’s a disconnect between the popularity of these services and the popularity of the SSAF because organisations like UMSU and other services that receive SSAF haven’t clearly promoted where their funding comes from,” said Bashford.

“Our aim is to improve our promotion of SSAF funding and make it clearer to students where their money is going.”

The push for awareness follows a growing concern surrounding the future of the SSAF. In November 2015, a motion was put forth by multiple independent and crossbench senators to replace the compulsory fee with an annual ballot which determined whether the SSAF would be charged for the year. The motion was defeated 35­6 with the majority of Liberal members abstaining from the vote. Labor, Greens, Nationals and some crossbench senators opposed the motion. Liberal senators Cory Bernardi and Eric Abetz crossed the floor.

Since the motion, student organisations have pushed to make known how the SSAF is being used to fund student­oriented services and opportunities. In 2015, the University distributed approximately $13 million collected from the annual payment to organisations and departments such as UMSU, the Graduate Students Association, Melbourne University Sport and Wellbeing services. In 2016, the SSAF will increase to $290 for full­time students and $217 for part­time students.

Currently, there is only plans for UMSU to advertise services funded by the SSAF. However, Bashford hopes that other organisations will soon follow.

“For the campaign to be truly effective, we hope all services and organisations funded by SSAF adopt the logo. One of the biggest misconceptions about SSAF is that all the funding goes to [UMSU], when in reality we only get around one third.”

When contacted by Farrago, President of the GSA Jim Smith has stated his support for UMSU’s motion, but is waiting to receive the final SSAF review before any additional measures are implemented. The SSAF review is expected to be presented by the University in the upcoming months.

To find out more about SSAF, check out their website here

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