A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence

Opposition leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr will today join students and staff at the University of Melbourne to launch a campaign on campuses across Australia to fight Tony Abbott’s debt sentence on university students.

Mr Shorten said the Abbott Government’s radical and unfair higher education agenda would shatter the dream of a university degree for many students and their families.

“Tony Abbott’s plan to Americanise our universities and impose $100,000 degrees will make too many young Australians think twice about pursuing a university education,” Mr Shorten said.

“This is the wrong direction for Australia in the Asian Century. We are smart enough to compete with the best in the world, and we should.

“A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence – it should be the doorway to opportunity and prosperity for young Australians, and the nation.

“Like so much of the Abbott Government's unfair Budget, these measures will hit women and young people from low-income backgrounds and regional Australia the hardest.

“But every student will pay for Tony Abbott’s broken promise of  ‘no cuts to education’ – and many will be forced to give up the dream of a university degree.” 

“I want to give people this absolute assurance, no cuts to education …”

TONY ABBOTT - INSIDERS – 1 SEPTEMBER 2013

This week, around Australia, staff and students will be able to take part in campus events and sign an online petition as part of Labor’s campaign: ‘A Degree Shouldn’t Be a Debt Sentence’.

Senator Carr said the Abbott Government’s changes to higher education were a triple-hit to student fees.

“Cuts of up to 37 per cent to Commonwealth funding for undergraduate places, together with fee deregulation – which would allow universities to charge what they like – mean the cost of many courses could double or triple,” Senator Carr said.

“On top of these higher fees, compound interest on HECS-HELP loans will burden students with crippling debts that could follow them for the rest of their lives.

“There has been a loud chorus of concern from students, parents, universities and the wider community about the proposed changes.

“Labor hears that concern and will fight against the Abbott Government’s Americanisation of Australian universities, which would lead to higher fees, crushing student debt, reduced access and greater inequality.”

MONDAY, 11 AUGUST 2014


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