Not content with cutting $12 billion from Australian universities over the next decade, Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals are now planning more cuts - this time targeting disadvantaged students who need a bit of extra help to succeed at university.


Reports this morning have supported rumours that the Turnbull Liberals are planning to cut almost $200 million a year from university equity and quality programs as the solution to their panic-stricken budget woes.


Abolishing the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Programme (HEPP) would rip $180 million a year from a program specifically targeted to helping disadvantaged students succeed in higher education.

A further $11 million a year would come from abolishing the Promoting Excellence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education which works to promote new innovative teaching techniques.

This is yet more evidence that Malcolm Turnbull’s innovation agenda is all talk and no action. 

The reported abolition of the HEPP also comes after the Liberals have spent their entire term driving university quality and equity programs into the ground, including $198 million in funding cuts since 2013.

Labor calls on Education Minister, Simon Birmingham to stop using university funding as a punching bag, rule out any further cuts to higher education, and dump the Liberals’ unnecessary plan for $100,000 degrees.    

The Regional Universities Network yesterday slammed the proposal and urged the Liberals to continue to support the increased participation and success of regional and low SES students at university. 

Labor believes that what should get you into university is hard work and deep thinking, not deep pockets or your parents' bank balance.

And we believe universities have a responsibility to help students succeed - especially disadvantaged students. 

That’s why Labor's plan for more graduates and sustainable university funding will introduce a Higher Education Access and Growth Strategy to improve outcomes for low income students, students from rural and regional areas, Indigenous students, first generation migrants, students with disabilities and other disadvantage students. 


These are the young people who will be hardest hit by the Turnbull Government's latest mean-spirited cuts. 

Labor's positive plan will also:

  1. Introduce a new Student Funding Guarantee, which will deliver $2,500 more per student than the Liberals, and remove the need for higher fees and a lifetime of debt.

  2. Increase the number of students completing their study by 20,000 graduates a year from 2020.

  3. Invest $31 million in Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency to boost the quality of teaching and resources in our universities.

  4. Establish an independent Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to ensure graduates meet the needs of the future economy.

  5. Offer a Startup Year at university to young Australians looking to start their own enterprise.

  6. Boost the number of young Australians taking up STEM courses at university as well as offering 25,000 Teach STEM Scholarships and upskilling 25,000 teachers.

  7. Deliver more information for parents and students so they can make good decisions about university.

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