*(Photo: Rachel Clark)

Students from across Sydney have assembled to protest proposed hikes, cuts and changes to university fees and HECS debts.

These proposed changes come as the education sector feels the sting of COVID-19, with reduced international enrolments and the switch to online learning resulting in a loss of revenue.

Under the proposals put forward by Education Minister Dan Tehan, arts and humanities subjects could see fee hikes, while science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject fees would be reduced. These changes have been proposed in the interest of increasing graduate skills in areas of “future jobs growth”.

Central News had a team of reporters in the field providing updates throughout the afternoon

4 pm: Few protesters are left on campus, with most having moved on, bringing the national day of action to an early conclusion.

In addition to fines and warnings, protesters were led away and detained during the afternoon’s events.

In a statement to Central News, NSW Police stated that no arrests were made, but 10 infringement notices were given for breaches of COVID-19 Public Health Orders.

*(Photos: Rachel Clark)

3:45pm: When asked why NSW Police were present on campus at the University of Sydney and why protesters were dispersed, a spokesperson for the University of Sydney offered the following statement:

2:30pm: Some protestors have been issued fines by NSW Police for failing to comply with orders relating to COVID-19.

The Facebook event listed for the protest stated that the protest would “adhere to social distancing guidelines.” This included encouraging attendees to “bring a mask, hand sanitiser, and maintain 1.5 metres distance from other attendees”, as well as not attending if feeling unwell or are a person at risk.

2:15pm: Despite protesters being dispersed earlier, many students and police are still hanging around the University of Sydney Campus

1.30pm: Police appear to be dispersing protesters, ending the University Fees Hike Day of Action after only 30 minutes. Emilia Roux reports

Photos: Rachel Clark / Mark Kriedemann

1:11pm: The police presence has become the target of protestors’ chants

1:00pm: The University Fees Hike Day of Action has begun in Sydney with students protesting at Fisher Library

Photos: Mark Kriedemann
1.45pm: A strong police presence is already assembling around Fisher Library at The Univerity of Sydney, where the protest is to take place.

(Photo: Mark Kriedemann)

August 28: Ahead of today’s protest, Education Minister Dan Tehan’s office provided Central News with an official response to the concerns of students in attendance.