Tinkering won’t remove fundamental unfairness of higher education changes

No amount of sugar coating will encourage the Australian people to swallow the Abbott Government’s fundamentally unfair higher education changes, Shadow Higher Education Minister Kim Carr said today.

“Whatever inducements the Government might dangle in front of cross-bench Senators, fee deregulation would still mean a massive increase in costs for ordinary Australians who go to university,” Senator Carr said.

“The cost of degrees would still double or treble for many students. There would still be $100,000 degrees. Australia would still be on the American path to much greater inequality in higher education and many who can now aspire to go to university would be excluded. Tinkering with the package won’t change any of that.”

Senator Carr was commenting on reports in Fairfax papers that Education Minister Christopher Pyne would soften the most criticised aspects of his higher education package, reducing an average funding cut of undergraduate places from 20 per cent to 12-15 per cent, dropping a plan to charge real interest on student loans and deferring the extension of Commonwealth Supported Places to private colleges.

Mr Pyne has since denied the reports, describing them as a grab bag of wish lists from certain people but reiterating the Government will not abandon its attack on Australia’s universities.

“At a time when most our international competitors are increasing public investment in higher education, research and science, the Abbott government wants to hobble the Australian economy and future generations with funding cuts, higher fees for degrees and crippling debt,” Senator Carr said.

“The package remains rotten to the core and should be rejected in its entirety.”


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