Standing up for Canberra

A degree shouldn't be a debt sentence

“We will ensure the continuation of the current arrangements of university funding.”

Those were the words of the Minister for Education prior to the election.

“No cuts to education”.

Those were the words of the Prime Minister prior to the election.

The Abbott Government’s higher education reforms debated this week represent just another broken promise.

And Government members are in complete denial about the fact that deregulation will see substantial fee hikes.
The University of Western Australia has already said it will charge students $16,000 a year – more than doubling the cost of an arts degree overnight.

And looking at countries around the world you find that deregulation has NOT led to price competition and lower fees for students.

In the United Kingdom, fees were deregulated in 2012 with a cap of 9,000 pounds.

For the 2015-16 academic year, only two universities out of 123 will not charge 9,000 pound fees.

Three years after deregulation, experts in the UK have found the new system is unsustainable:

“[It] represents the worst of both worlds, where all parties feel that they are getting a bad deal” and “government [is]

effectively funding [universities] by writing off student debt rather than investing directly in teaching grants”.

Young people shouldn’t have to choose between higher education and home ownership.

And they shouldn’t have to choose between higher education and starting a family.

Under the Abbott Government’s plan, they will have to make those choices.

Labor believes that no Australian, young or old, should be deterred from going to university because of cost.

A decision to study should be based on intellect, ambition, hard work and skill. Not on your bank balance.

The Abbott Government’s higher education reforms are socially regressive.

They are bad for low and middle income earners.

They are bad for rural and regional Australia.

And they are bad for our nation’s future.