PM doesn’t get his own higher education policy ... again

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has yet again demonstrated his failure to understand the implications of his own higher education policy, Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr today.

In the Parliament today, referring to Labor’s concerns about student debt,  Mr Abbott said:

“… at least those students would be coming into it with their eyes open." 

TONY ABBOTT – QUESTION TIME – 28 MAY 2014

“Under his policy existing students and graduates, as well as future students, will be hit with potentially crippling debts through the imposition of real interest rates on their HECS debts,” Senator Carr said.

“These young people and their families were given no forewarning of changes to their HECS arrangements – so there is no way it could be said they went into debt ‘with their eyes open’.

“On the contrary, they were reassured in the lead-up to the election that there would be no changes to universities.

"We will ensure the continuation of the current arrangements of university funding."

REAL SOLUTIONS, LIBERAL PARTY POLICY DOCUMENT- CHAPTER 17, PAGE 40 & 41 – 27 JANUARY 2013

“Mr Abbott obviously fails to appreciate that existing students have not signed up for higher debt levels by being slugged with interest rates that will apply to their HECS debts from 2016,” Senator Carr said.

“University students and graduates with existing HECS/HELP debts – currently about 1.2 million people – will be hit with thousands of dollars extra in interest on their loans after 2016.

“Instead, both existing and new HECS/HELP debts will now feel the impact of the Abbott Government’s changes to interest rate indexation from CPI of 2 per cent to the Government Bond rate, capped at 6 per cent.

“At compound Government Bond rates these HECS/HELP debts will grow rapidly.

“For example, a $60,000 HECS debt unpaid for 10 years will grow to $97,734 at an interest rate of 5 per cent.

“Currently, there are 750,000 undergraduate students and 250,000 postgraduate students who will face future HECS/HELP liabilities.

“It’s time the Prime Minister came to grips with the implications of the interest rate burden his policy will impose, as well as with the rest of his higher education package, and it’s high time he listened to what students, parents, vice-chancellors and his own backbenchers are saying about this shambolic policy.”

WEDNESDAY, 28 MAY 2014


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