Victorian postgraduate students will rally at the State Library in Melbourne today to call on Premier Daniel Andrews to grant Victorian postgraduate students public transport concessions.
“Postgraduate students in every other state can access public transport concessions yet the Andrews Government refuses Victorian students concessions,” said Smriti Ghimire, spokesperson for the Fares Fair PTV campaign.
“For full-time postgraduate students, the cost of public transport is an excessive financial burden they can’t afford. Almost one in five postgraduate students regularly go without food or other necessities because they can’t afford them.
“Postgraduate students have intensive study loads and work part-time, many are struggling to make ends meet. They deserve public transport concessions.
“Victoria is out of step with all the other states where full-time postgraduate students get concessions. If we are really the ‘Education State’ postgraduate students shouldn’t be paying up to $41 a week just to get to their university campus.
“Postgraduate degrees are the new minimum requirement in many industries. Despite that the Andrews Government will not give postgraduate students public transport concessions.
“International education is Victoria’s biggest export industry and contributes $6.475 billion a year to our economy.
“The exorbitant cost of public transport is a deterrent for international students who are considering study in Melbourne.
“I’m studying a PhD in Engineering. When I moved here I could not believe full-time postgraduate students couldn’t get public transport concessions. Australia is much more affluent than my home country Nepal, yet every student in Nepal receives concessions.
“We are rallying today because it’s time the Andrews Government stopped undervaluing the contributions made by postgraduate students. Melbourne’s public transport is the most expensive in Australia.
“Daniel Andrews can afford to give public transport concessions to postgraduate students in the upcoming state budget, and he must,” said Ms Ghimire.
Comment attributable to Tony Morton, Public Transport Users Association:
“The Public Transport Users Association remains committed to its position that all full-time students, regardless of citizenship or course level, should be eligible for student public transport concessions. We support Fares Fair PTV’s action today, and call on the Andrews government to extend concessions to postgraduate students.”
Comment attributable to Luba Grigorovitch, Secretary of the Rail Tram & Bus Union:
“If we want accessible higher education we must have accessible public transport.
“Postgraduate degrees are increasingly a prerequisite for many jobs. All students studying full time should be able to access public transport concessions.
“Graduate students are often in casual or part-time employment working long hours in low paid jobs, living hand to mouth so they can get through their last years of study. They are also set to enter an increasingly competitive labour market when they finally graduate. It’s reasonable for them to expect travel concessions when they are studying full-time.”