Industry voices implore the senate to vote against the ‘Jobs Ready’ graduates package in video from ACAG

The newly-formed Australian Communications Advocacy Group (ACAG) has released a video featuring industry voices calling on the senate to vote against the ‘Jobs Ready’ graduates package that will dramatically reduce funding from humanities courses at universities and place public relations and communications students in the highest price bracket of $14,500 a year in fees.

The video also calls upon the support of the Centre Alliance’s Stirling Griff, who will have the casting vote on Tuesday, and thanks Senators Rex Patrick and Jacqui Lambie for their public condemnation of the bill Wednesday, in which Lambie announced it will “make it harder for poor kids” to attend university.

Chris Savage, the campaign director for the ACAG and the director of the Savage Company, said the bill is “down to the wire”.

“We have a real shot at blocking this terrible proposed legislation, which sees fees on arts degrees rise by 113%, and will destroy graduate talent flow to our industry for decades,” he said.

“Two of the three critical independent Senate cross-bench Senators, Jackie Lambie and Rex Patrick, have both now publicly stated they will not support the package. We’re deeply grateful for their support, and for their giving our ACAG volunteers a hearing and reviewing our materials.”

The video features Savage, PRIA national chair Leigh McCluskey, the Possibility Partnership’s CEO Ava Lawler and chairman Tim Parker, founder of Hardhat Dan Monheit, Versa CEO Kath Blackham, 303 MullenLowe CEO Nick Cleaver, Public Address CEO Shane Allison, CEO of Sefiani Communications Robyn Sefiani, Gillian Fish director of 6AM, director of CSCE Sia Papageorgiou and Baiada Poultry’s head of marketing Yash Gandhi.

The ACAG will be advertising in South Australia over the weekend 

The ACAG was formed in August by PRIA, the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) in Australasia and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) chapters in Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra, with support of a number of industry members. Its mission is to advocate against the overhaul of university fees that was announced in June by Education Minister Dan Tehan.

The package has been designed to direct students into ‘job-relevant’ university courses such as nursing, teaching, maths, science, health and architecture by increasing funding and reducing fees to between $3,700 and $7,700 per year.

Prospective law and commerce students would see fees increase by 28% meanwhile humanities courses will spike in cost.

Savage also called upon industry leaders, particularly in South Australia, as it is the home state of Senator Griff, to contact him and urge him to vote ‘no’ to the legislation.

The ACAG will also be using social media, extensive direct lobbying, and paid advertising funded by donations in South Australia over the weekend to send the message to Senator Griff.

“This ill-conceived, politically motivated legislation is a disaster for the broader communications and advertising industry,” he said.

“The result will be thousands of school graduates not being able to follow their desired career path, those that want to be in our industry having to pay $45,000 for a degree, less courses available, and as a result, a major shortage of talent coming through this critical pathway to our industry. The talent that does continue to come in will be from a certain, wealthier demographic, and significantly lessen the critical diversity of backgrounds we need in our industry.

“We are so grateful to the industry leaders who have taken action and gone public to support ACAG’s efforts to block this legislation. Hundreds of leaders, from all walks of agency life, have stepped up, done the right thing and made the effort to try to block this terrible legislation.

“It makes me proud to be able to call myself a colleague of these fine individuals and organisations.”

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