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Thursday, 28 August 2014
Page: 50


Mr FEENEY (Batman) (13:45): Last Thursday I had the privilege, once again, to visit La Trobe University, which is based in my home electorate of Batman. La Trobe University is an important part of Australia's higher education sector. It teaches approximately 26,000 full-time students and has a vision to expand to some 33,000 students in the coming years. To my great delight, La Trobe University is a university that began with a mission. It prides itself on attracting students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, particularly those who are first in a family to succeed in achieving a tertiary education. It has a magnificent footprint across the northern suburbs of Melbourne but also includes campuses in Bendigo and Benalla and is well known to the members for Indi and Bendigo.

I am very proud indeed to be the federal member for a university that provides access to education for those who need it most. I am now appalled by the attack on future students of La Trobe University by this heartless government. This is yet another broken promise by the coalition government of ongoing funding of Australian universities. Reports of university fees rising by 40 per cent or even 50 per cent, reports of there being $100,000 degrees hits the students of La Trobe University hardest and goes to the heart of the mission of the university to extend the opportunity of tertiary education to new populations in Australia. These students do not need any further barrier to accessing tertiary education. They do not need a lifelong debt sentence. Equity in education should remain a key goal of government and this is a government that has abandoned that goal. (Time expired)