Birmingham’s big dollars question: if universities cannot afford cuts how they can promise pay rises

It is one the minister will ask cross bench senators

Days after CQU and the union signed-off on a sector-leading wage deal (CMM August 24) Education Minister Simon Birmingham has suggested “wage deals in excess of current private or public sector outcomes” … undermined the doomsday prophecies being spun about the Turnbull Government’s higher education reforms.”

CQU and the NTEU have agreed on a cumulative payrise of 10.5 per cent across the agreement. This compares to the last agreement, at UWA, where lower paid staff will receive 9.5 per cent and higher earners 5.9 per cent in cumulative rises.

““It defies logic to claim there will be mass sackings because of a reduction in the rate of growth in government funding but to then sign off on enterprise bargaining deals well in excess of current community norms,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This deal highlights that universities can succeed with our reforms. Our plan has been on the table for months and it is clear universities recognise they can still reward their staff generously with the slightly lower rate of growth in taxpayer funding that we’re proposing … (it) should signal the end of the scare campaign about claimed cuts and I hope everyone involved in the higher education debate will keep focused on the facts of our reforms.”

“It is clear that people should look at what universities are doing and spending rather than what some university leaders are saying or predicting,” the minister added.

By ‘people’ CMM suspects Senator Birmingham means cross-bench senators.