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Greens wary of inquiry calls into higher eduction package.



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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

MEDIA RELEASE 15.05.03

Greens wary of inquiry calls into Higher Eduction package.

Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Kerry Nettle, today called on the Senate opposition parties and independents to hold firm in their rejection of the Government's plans to undermine the university system.

"The Greens will not bow to Governmental blackmail over the higher education package," Senator Nettle said.

"Higher Education is perhaps the most inquired into sector in the Australian economy. The benefit of another investigation is dubious.

"The Government has time to think again about these changes before introducing the legislation, and should take that opportunity to refocus on relieving student debt not exacerbating it.

"This is not just a user-pays system, it's a user-pays, pays again and pays again system in which graduates pay for the advantage they receive firstly through earnings forgone, then through higher taxes, and finally through HECS-HELP or

up-front fees.

"Instead of seeing education investment as a fundamental responsibility, the Government prefers to act as loan shark to a reluctant student body facing a massive increase in personal debt.

"The Greens challenge the Government to justify its spending priorities which see more money spent on the non-means tested First Home Owners Grant than it would take to invest in free tertiary education.

"The Government should support those who choose to pursue a higher education just as they support those who choose to continue their school study into years 11 and 12."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 213 146