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Wilkie supports affordable higher education.



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Kim Wilkie MP Federal Member for Swan

MEDIA STATEMENT

Thursday October 16, 2003

Wilkie supports affordable higher education

Federal Member for Swan Kim Wilkie has lambasted the Howard Government’s plans to raise university HECS fees.

In a speech to Federal Parliament yesterday, Mr Wilkie said the moves to increase HECS fees by 30 per cent for some courses, and completely remove HECS-funded places for others would mean bright students from poor families would be denied the chance to realise their academic and career potentials.

“I believe… that higher education should be available and affordable to all those who aspire to take part in it,” said Mr Wilkie.

“I do not agree with the Howard Government’s attempt to create an American-style system where money more than marks opens university doors.

“Under the Howard Government since 1998, full fee payers have been able to buy a university place, ahead of people with higher marks.

“Degrees costing as much as $150,000 are available to those who can afford to pay.

“It is appalling, that for a price a person can get preferential treatment over those infinitely more qualified.

“All Australian citizens should have an equal opportunity to get into university based on ability.”

The Australian Labor Party is vehemently opposed to any measures that would further erode academic standards at universities, or students’ability to participate in higher education.

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Further enquiries 08 9470 4131, Kim Wilkie 0407 513 245, Elle Archer 0417 718 051