The Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) today confirmed that the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s reckless plan to introduce $100,000 degrees will see the annual cost of HELP loans blow out to $11.1 billion by 2025–26.

The PBO’s report states that the budget blowout is as a consequence of:

“Announced [Government] policies to reduce government subsidies and to allow universities to set their own fees”

Higher Education Loan Programme - Impact on the Budget, 6 April 2016

The report comes just days after the Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham confirmed once again that massive cuts to university funding and $100,000 degrees are and have always been the policy of the Abbott/Turnbull Liberals.

Being interviewed on Sky News, the Minister made it clear that the Government intends to pursue $12 billion in cuts to universities over the next ten years:

“We still certainly want to find savings in higher education.”

Simon Birmingham, Sky News, 4 April 2016

Today we see more evidence that the Liberals’ plan to Americanise Australian universities is not only bad for students – it’s also bad for the Budget and bad for Australian taxpayers.

This Government is so out of touch that it thinks cutting funding to universities and forcing students and their families to pay more is “reform”.

Instead the PBO report confirms what higher education experts have said all along – the Liberals’ plan for $100,000 degrees is fiscally reckless and would undermine the sustainability of the whole HECS system.

Only Labor will stop the university cuts and $100,000 degrees.

Only Labor will clean up the VET FEE-HELP fiscal mess that has occurred on the Liberals’ watch.

Labor wants to see more students not only start university but complete it with the prospect of being able to find employment quickly.   

Labor has been outlining its plan for sustainable higher education funding since September, a plan which will:

  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.

Unlike the Liberals, Labor’s clear plan will invest in every student to ensure more Australians graduate with the skills and knowledge they need for the jobs of the future.

Only Labor is committed to investing in higher education to create and sustain the jobs of the future.

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