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Government must release uni poverty report.



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ROGER PRICE MP Federal Member for Chifley

GOVERNMENT MUST RELEASE UNI POVERTY REPORT

The Howard Government must immediately release a report on student

poverty it commissioned more than a year ago Federal Member for Chifley

Roger Price MP said today.

The report, prepared by the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Higher

Education Studies, details the extent of financial pressure on university

students.

Mr Price said that the release was a matter of urgency given alarming reports

that university students were turning to prostitution out of financial necessity.

A Cosmopolitan magazine article claimed that up to 10 per cent of sex

workers in New South Wales were university students. According to the

magazine report, sex industry operators are placing ads on the back of doors

in campus and college toilets to lure desperate students with the promise of

good pay and flexible hours.

“It is a real tragedy that university students are being forced to turn to

prostitution to make ends meet and the Prime Minister John Howard is doing

nothing”, Mr Price said.

The Federal Education Minister is aware that students are turning to

prostitution, but he does not seem to care. Asked about the practice, his

office said: “People make individual choices about the sorts of work they do.”

He said the issue of on-campus recruitment by sex industry operators was

“up to the universities to govern.”

“It gives a whole new meaning to Liberal Party Family values”, Mr Price said.

It is against this background that the Education Minister released the third report in the

Howard Government’s higher education review, in which students were identified as the

sole source of increased higher education funding.

The report included proposals that could undermine the HECS system and send the cost of

courses sky-rocketing to more than $100,000.

The Howard Government has overseen a dramatic cutback and shift in university funding

since coming to office in 1996. In that time it has ripped $3 billion out of Commonwealth

funding for universities, while increasing student contributions to education costs by 60 per

cent.

“The Howard Government should be developing ways to support and encourage young

Australians from Western Sydney, who are developing the skills and knowledge this nation

needs. Instead, it is forcing them into poverty and debt and, in some cases, prostitution”, Mr

Price concluded.

Ends 30 July 2002

Contact: Roger Price MP on 9625 4344 or 0419 554 460.