To: Minister for Education - The Hon. James Merlino

Ph.D Researchers are getting paid below minimum wage

Legislate an increase to the minimum stipend amount Ph.D Researchers are getting paid to at least be at or above minimum wage, to allow them to survive in the current harsh economic environment.

Why is this important?

Ph.D students do a massive amount of research and development in Australia. For Australia to remain competitive on a global scale, we need to support and encourage as many scientifically minded people to participate in research as possible. This research allows us to be at the forefront of technological advancement in a wide range of areas such as molecular science (cancer, vaccine and drug development), computer science (AI, technology innovation) and many other disciplines. Currently the legislated minimum stipend payrate for a Ph.D student is $28,854 p.a (2022 data). Most, if not all Ph.D students are only ever awarded the minimum amount or slightly higher for the duration of their degree (Often up to four years). Ph.D students have all undertaken between 4 - 6 years of previous study to begin their doctorate degree and all possess several degrees in their own disciplines. This minimum payrate needs to be increased to fall into line with the current costs of living in Australia, and at the least should be equal to or greater than the legal minimum wage. Doing a Ph.D is full time work and working weeks well exceed 40 hours. Ph.D students are highly skilled and qualified workers that are undertaking work critical to Australia to be competitive on a global stage. Lets start to support them during these formative years as Australia's young scientists and researchers and award them minimum wages at the least.


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