The future of tertiary education in Launceston and Burnie is in jeopardy if the Liberals continues to pursue cuts of over $30 million a year to the University of Tasmania.
Despite being rejected twice by the Senate and overwhelmingly by the Australian people the government continues to pursue their agenda of $100,000 degrees, and a massive cut to the University of Tasmania.
If legislated the University has indicated that a withdrawal of its presence in northern Tasmania is on the cards.
“Make no mistake – the Liberal plan will see Northern Tasmanians being subjected to a second rate higher education”, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr said.
“Launceston and Burnie have been made pawns in a political game.” Senator Helen Polley said.
“Our communities have been taken hostage by a government determined to cut billions from our universities.”
“It’s not good enough that this issue is being pursued publically in this manner. These despicable tactics must end.”
“With these sorts of challenges to funding, the opportunity our young people have to take their education as far as they can will be ruined.
“This could deny any chance young people in the north of the state to have access to university education which will have devastating impact in their ability to find good employment opportunities into the future", Senator Polley went on to say.
University of Tasmania vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen has stated that he was worried that any future challenges to funding would force the university to choose between allocating resources to research, and allocating resources to campuses.
“Those are the decisions management will be forced to confront if we can't get the resources that are needed to restructure the institution to make it financially viable in a deregulated context".
Peter Rathjen, ABC Radio 936 Hobart, 20 March 2015
If either or both campuses closed, students would have to consider studying interstate, or skipping university altogether.
“With Tasmania’s youth unemployment rate hovering at 17.4 per cent, we need to generate opportunities for the states young people, not take them away. Education leads to empowerment and empowerment leads to innovation and job opportunities,” Senator Polley said.
The Government has plans to reintroduce legislation in July.