The brunt of this change will be felt by those who rely on communications professionals – fundraising for charities, disease awareness groups, mental health education, councils, critical health services, infrastructure projects – the list goes on.
Why is this an issue?
If we want communications to be accessible and effective for all Australians, we want a diverse and informed workforce, from a range of socio-economic, political, geographic and demographic backgrounds. This policy strikes at the heart of this endeavour.
How did you help?
ACAG mounted a campaign to advocate against these changes, and your input was critical.
Why was it important to change this decision?
The Federal Government’s proposed ‘job-ready’ package is ill-conceived and the unintended consequences of this package will damage the welfare of our society.
In the era of fake news, eroding trust in significant institutions and the fragmentation of the media, robust and trusted communications are more important than ever.
Communications helps to keep people safe, increase their productivity and plays a key role in transforming organisational capability to overcome new challenges.
Equal access to training in advertising, marketing, content and communications is essential to fair and diverse Australia
ACAG represents the interests of a profession which employs 330,000 individuals across Australia.
In addition, we're also representing the entire communications industry in Australia which is adversely affected by these changes.
Industry Projected To Have Strong Future Growth
The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business has improved the Future Growth prospects of one category of communications professionals - Public Relations (PR) professionals - from stable to strong.
Job Ready Graduates
In the last year communication professionals alone added 2,000 practitioners to their ranks. Our graduates are not only job ready – the Federal Government has recognised they’re in demand.
The proposed changes will see the fees for communications graduates skyrocket by 113% with a typical graduate paying nearly $45,000 for a three year degree
These changes are discriminatory and will further entrench inequality and reduce access to tertiary education. It will also reduce the diversity of the profession over the longer term.
"These changes mean that humanities students will now face a massive 113 per cent increase in pursuit of their chosen careers. Potential communications students will now have to find $14,500 each year of their university education, up from the current level of $6,804 per annum. That is simply unacceptable.
Our industries are ready for this fight. As soon as this short-sighted announcement was made, the PRIA knew that we needed to act, and we were over-whelmed with offers of support from commercial organisations and industry groups to get ACAG off the ground"
National President, PRIA
“Many organisations in STEM industries in Australia are actively targeting humanities graduates as they recognise that the complex challenges facing our businesses and communities require diverse thinking.
We need STEAM, not STEM alone. Communications and humanities-trained professionals bring much need critical thinking and creativity to the workplace."
"The events of 2020 have demonstrated, without a doubt, the incredible value and
impact of clear, consistent, relevant and timely communication. The changes to
university fees proposed by the federal government are short-sighted. At a time
when the world’s values are under a microscope, and a growing sense of inequality
is undermining trust, the need for tertiary-qualified communication professionals is
greater than ever. A diverse Australia is a better Australia."
Sia Papageorgiou FRSA, SCMP
Immediate Past President, IABC Victoria
"A lack of graduates in the industry will mean less people working in community engagement, risking the right of communities to comment on the development and assessment of government infrastructure projects.
Public participation and engagement are driven by skilled professionals and effective communication is at the core of this. The government’s fee increase decision risks delays to the very infrastructure projects government is using as their foundation for post-COVID recovery
Chair, International IAP2
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"Australians value fairness – particularly so when it comes to educational outcomes – and the Prime Minister needs to recognise that these changes are just not fair.
Our research shows that the vast majority of Australians recognise that these changes are discriminatory, penalise students who aren’t suited to STEM subjects and undervalue the skills acquired through an arts education"
President, NSW PRIA
"IABC Victoria is pleased to add our voice to the chorus of outraged voices who have
come together to form the Australian Communications Advocacy Group. The effect
of the proposed changes to arts/humanities university fees will see an erosion in our
culture. The hint is in the word ‘humanities’. Take away the ‘human’ in the way we
run our society puts at risk our ability to achieve a ‘civil’ society. Short sighted and ill