At long last, the budget is here. Last month an SRC Council meeting passed our proposed spending for the year with a unanimous vote. We’re happy to be able to expand our legal and casework services, increase funding to activism, complete a number of sorely needed projects and return a small surplus.
Each of the SRC’s solicitors will now be working an additional day per fortnight, ensuring that there is a lawyer in the offices at all times. We hope this change will go some way to meet the significant increase in demand by students for legal assistance in the last few years.
We have funded ten weeks of leave for a caseworker to take time off and receive accreditation in financial advice. This will allow the Casework department to give more assistance to students who are struggling financially. Receiving this help at the same time as a student might get advice on academic, housing or Centrelink issues minimises the need for students to seek assistance from multiple professionals at stressful times.
SRC Office Bearer budgets have increased by just over $4000 in recognition of the important place that student activism has in protecting our interests on campus and in the community. We’ve also established a shared resource pool to ensure that the tools of the trade—megaphones, tables, staplers etc.—are available in the long term.
We’ve set money aside to build a new database for the Casework department and increased the stipend paid to editors of Honi Soit. Unlike other paid Office Bearers, the Honi stipend does not increase by a small amount annually. In real terms, this means their stipend has decreased significantly over time. An increase is therefore important to ensure the position remains accessible to students from all economic backgrounds.
The only other changes of note are a fair hike in the cost of printing Honi (the last printer went insolvent, the market had moved and the gears of capitalism ground on) and a $9000 reduction in the affiliation fee the SRC pays to the National Union of Students.
If you have any questions about how or why the SRC spends money the way it does, feel free to get in touch.