There is a Royal Commission into Victoria’s mental health system – the postgraduate student association has some ideas for it
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations points to study-worries and financial strain as issues that psychologically burden postgrads and it accordingly proposes more federal and state, financial support.
But CAPA also points to counselling services provided by the state’s universities, “which are often under-funded or under-staffed and fail to meet the requirements of the student bodies they are designed to serve.”
CAPA accordingly calls for a cut to waiting times to see a counsellor at a university, to two weeks, and an increase to 12 sessions available. And to make it happen, CAPA proposes “that the Victorian Government, through legislative or regulatory measures, enforces minimum standards.”
And CAPA is keen on for postgrads to be treated as workers
The council backs the Queensland worker compensation agency in classing research postgrads as workers, which makes universities liable for insurance premiums. There will be a test case at CQU. (CMM yesterday).
WorkCover’s ruling is a recognition of the importance of postgraduate research students to the research sector, CAPA claims, adding;
“it is unjust that HDR students are often treated as salaried employees, often staying in their labs or offices far beyond standard working hours at the behest of their supervisors, but are paid below minimum wage.”
“We therefore call on Australian universities to raise the value of their stipends to at least minimum wage, and to offer stipends to all full time HDR students, in recognition that their contributions are a form of employment.”