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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 639

Arts in the VET sector

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has revoked access to student loans for people seeking arts diplomas, for almost 60 different courses in the VET sector. This action limits people's ability to pursue the education track most appropriate to their needs, devalues art-centric tertiary education programs (past, present & future) and further erodes an industry that has seen the harshest of gov't austerity measures. The decision made by Minister Birmingham is contrary to the Australian ethos of a "fair go". It will sully the artistic community by creating an elitist, homogeneous artistic body, lacking in diversity. It will destroy the point of entry for citizens from lower socioeconomic backgrounds access to secondary education. Democracy and individual judgement go hand in hand. This backhanded attempt by government to dictate the choices made by its constituents, is an attack on freedom of choice, and should be seen as nothing short of an attempt to nullify culture while suppressing liberty.

We therefore ask that this broad sword assault on arts-based diplomas, is reversed and that access to student loans for these courses is reinstated, so that Australians may seek accessible education without discrimination, ridicule or penalty.

from 17 citizens