Tinkering won't make Pyne's package any fairer

Dropping plans to make graduates repay their HELP debts at real interest rates won't make the Abbott Government's proposed higher education changes any fairer, Shadow Higher Education Minister Kim Carr said today.

Senator Carr was commenting on media reports that Education Minister Christopher Pyne would drop his universally opposed plan to index HELP debts at the 10-year bond rate, in the hope of winning Senate cross-bench support for the changes.

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Funds for auto transition way below what is needed

Today’s announcement by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane and his Victorian and South Australian counterparts that the $60 million Next Generation Manufacturing Investment Programme is open for applications provides some welcome but very limited support for manufacturers in these states.

The announcement is yet another reminder that the Abbott Government’s response to the crisis it created in automotive manufacturing is nowhere near adequate.

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Macfarlane must provide certainty for Cooperative Research Centres

The release of the Abbott Government’s long-awaited “competitiveness agenda” has created further uncertainty across the science and research sector, particularly for Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs).

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane knows that the CRC program represents an incredible success story of Australian innovation policy. It’s success in linking research with industry – Mr Macfarlane’s rhetorical obsession – is admired the world over. 

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Budget cuts, deregulation put NT’s university at risk

The Northern Territory’s sole university would be hit especially hard by Christopher Pyne’s plan to deregulate fees, cut the higher education budget and impose crippling debts on students, Shadow Minister for Higher Education Kim Carr warned today.

Senator Carr, who is visiting Charles Darwin University (CDU) with Northern Territory Senator Nova Peris, said that the CDU’s submission to the Senate’s inquiry into the Pyne plan painted a stark picture of the consequences of deregulation.

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Government offers threadbare copy of Labor’s innovation agenda

Today’s so-called competitiveness agenda from the Abbott Government is simply a package of reheated Labor reforms and reannouncements.

 

With no funding and little by way of new policy, it is clear that the Government’s real agenda is scrounging savings – not investing for growth.

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Labor welcomes new CSIRO chief

Labor congratulates Dr Larry Marshall on his appointment today as the new Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Dr Marshall’s experience as a physicist and engineer, and as entrepreneur who has served on the boards of more than 20 high-tech companies in Australia, the US and China, made him well suited to lead Australia’s premier research agency.

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Universities Australia changes its tune on Pyne’s dud package

The Abbott Government’s claims that the higher education sector supports its radical higher education completely unravelled at today’s Senate inquiry hearing in Canberra.

When pressed on the sector’s support for the package, Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of the peak body Universities Australia

“We’re not backing this package as currently presented – far from it.
Of course we don’t support a reduction of 20 per cent to the revenues of Australian universities. That translates into an almost $2 billion cut. Of course we don’t support that.
We also believe very firmly that the proposals as put forward by the Government in relation to the student loan scheme are brutal. They’ll have a disproportionate impact on women and those who take time out of the workforce.”

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Vets, nurses, teachers warn of Pyne’s debt trap

The Senate higher education inquiry today has heard that deregulation will create crippling debt burdens and threaten the supply of graduates in vital professions.

Representatives of veterinarians, nurses and teachers all told the inquiry that under the Government’s proposed changes to higher education the cost of studying to enter their professions would become prohibitive for many students, especially women.

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Inquiry evidence confirms dire impact of Pyne’s unfair higher education package

Evidence presented to the Senate inquiry of the planned higher education changes has repudiated Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s claim that the changes would benefit regional universities:

“I can say that regional universities will be the biggest winners from this reform.”

[CHRISTOPHER PYNE, AM, ABC RN, 28 AUGUST 2014]

Professor Peter Lee, chair of the Regional Universities Network (RUN), told the inquiry’s Brisbane hearing that the combined effect of a 20 per cent funding cut and uncapped fees would cause serious financial hardship for students at RUN campuses:

“I think for mature students who are working part-time often – an enrolled nurse trying to become a registered nurse, a bookkeeper wanting to become an accountant, a teacher aide trying to become a full teacher, not well remunerated – these are the characteristics of our students at regional universities. … I think it does have a disproportionate impact on the students we enrol.”

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Queensland regional unis among hardest hit under Pyne’s changes

Queensland universities will be amongst the hardest hit by Christopher Pyne’s higher education changes as the Senate inquiry into the Abbott Government’s university cuts begins in Brisbane today.

Queensland universities are facing a cut of almost $890 million to teaching and research as a result of these changes.

The effects of these cuts will be most devastating in regional universities, particularly in Queensland. 

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