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Thursday, 18 November 2010
Page: 1627


Senator MASON (1:56 PM) —The Higher Education Support Amendment (FEE-HELP Loan Fee) Bill 2010 seeks to increase the amount of FEE-HELP debt for fee-paying undergraduate students from 120 per cent to 125 per cent of the FEE-HELP loan. While this bill partly implements recommendation 37 of the Bradley review of the higher education sector, the Australian Council for Private Education and Training opposes the bill as it believes it will add an additional burden on students and further entrench the inconsistent treatment of students in public and private higher education institutions.

The coalition is not unsympathetic to the views put forward by stakeholders such as ACPET, particularly in the private higher education sector. The current student income support system is too complex and contains many anomalies and inconsistencies in the treatment of various categories of students. For that reason the coalition remains committed to instituting a wide-ranging review of student support systems when in government with a view making the system is simpler and fairer; however, the opposition supports the bill.