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Rent hike for students as Curtin prepares to sell off accommodation

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Curtin students living on campus have been informed that their accommodation will be sold as part of the $360 million Greater Curtin project and their rents increased by $30 a week.
About 100 residents were at a meeting last week when University officials broke the news.
From 2019 students will be forking out 15% more for their accommodation under the management of third party provider Unilodge.
Almost 1200 residents will be affected by the decision – the majority of whom are rural, regional and international students.
According to Curtin Student Guild President Liam O’Neill there was no consultation with students about the decision.
“Students were last engaged about accommodation on campus a number of years ago when the University organised a series of focus groups.”
Mr O’Neill said that University accommodation was aging, had limited infrastructure and students were naturally upset that they would be paying more for facilities that many considered basic at best.
He said that Curtin officials indicated Unilodge would not be making any improvements to the accommodation units or shared facilities beyond their current standards.
Unilodge is one of Australia’s largest student accommodation providers with 60 properties under its management in Australia and New Zealand.
The private management company was last year fined $90,000 after making false and misleading claims to students and failing to put their bonds in trust.
Mr O’Neill said that increasing the price of student accommodation used by international students would not do anything to stem declining international enrolments that Curtin had experienced over the past three years.

“At the same time Curtin’s strategic plan acknowledges the importance of working to improve rural and regional enrolments yet this announcement does nothing to assist those students.”

Mr O’Neill said he was disappointed that the University appeared to be making decisions that served its bottom line at the expense of the best interests of the student community.

“Curtin has just announced significant staffing cuts in the Science and Engineering faculty, tried to convince everyone that trimesters are a good idea and is now selling off student housing.

“The University Council needs to commit Curtin to a pro student direction otherwise the Minister should appoint a Council that will,” said Mr O’Neill.