Labor welcomes the Government’s indication that it will support Labor’s private Senator’s bill to rectify a widely recognised inequity in Australia’s higher education system.
Labor now calls on the Government to expedite the legislation through the Parliament so the changes can be implemented for the 2016 academic year.
Under current laws, young people who came to Australia from New Zealand as minors, or were born in Australia to New Zealand parents, cannot access Higher Education Loans Program (HELP) loans for university study, even though they are eligible for Commonwealth Supported Places for undergraduate degrees.
This means that access to Australian universities for these young people has depended on their ability to pay student fees upfront.
The change was initially planned to come into effect in 2015, but was tied to the Government’s unfair and unnecessary legislation for $100,000 university degrees.
Having failed as an Education Minister and now looking to jump ship over to Defence, it falls to Labor to do what Christopher Pyne won’t, and break down this barrier of inequality faced by thousands of young students.
From the first time Christopher Pyne introduced legislation to give effect to his unfair and unnecessary plan for $100,000 degrees, Labor has called on him to split the Bill and allow the Parliament to deal with this matter expeditiously.
Instead, Christopher Pyne has kept thousands of young people in limbo for more than a year while he continues to pursue his reckless deregulation plan.
Labor’s private Senator’s bill has broken the impasse and gives the Senate a chance to progress this bipartisan measure.
This legislation will open up access to HELP loans for New Zealand citizens who were born in Australia or came here as a minor and grew up in this country.
Labor believes the Commonwealth Government has a clear responsibility when it comes to building a fair, equitable and affordable university system.
Young people who grew up in Australia should not be forced to move to New Zealand to access a quality university education just because their parents cannot afford to pay the student contribution upfront.