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Democrats condemn HECS hikes at Australian universities.



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senator.bartlett@democrats.org.au www.democrats.org.au www.andrewbartlett.com News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.

DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/441 WEDNESDAY 2 JUNE 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS Democrats Condemn HECS Hikes at Australian Universities The Australian Democrats have condemned the Federal Education Minister for his misleading announcement last week about the cost of HECS hikes for NSW universities. "Only a week ago Dr Nelson told The Australian that the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at Australian Universities was around $377 million, but yesterday he revised that figure to an enormous $663 million over the next four years. "These unjust fee hikes shows once again why it is so crucial to have a responsible party in the balance of power role in the Senate. The Democrats opposed these huge fees hikes and this shows we were correct in doing so.” "We are now seeing the true costs of one of the key planks of Dr Nelson's higher education policy. Students will be paying $663 million more in HECS fees over the next four years, and that's only at 17 universities, there are still 13 universities that have to decide on their HECS levels for 2005. We could see this HECS increase balloon to $1 billion over four years," said Senator Andrew Bartlett. "These increases are the result of Dr Nelson's policy that was meant to "promote a more diverse higher education system" (BAF, p.20) and "prepare young Australians for the future" (BAF, p.1). The future they will be prepared for is one of life-defining debt. "Rather than improving income support for the 70 per cent of students working two days a week during the semester, or continuing funding for the Educational Textbook Subsidy scheme which offsets the cost of GST on educational textbooks, the Government decided to spend $14.7 billion over 4 years into tax cuts for the rich and allow universities to increase HECS by up to 25%. "This Government's priorities are totally wrong. "The Democrats are committed to reducing HECS fees for students, and showed in our pre-budget statement how $2.6 billion could be responsibly funded to address this need." New South Wales Last week Dr Nelson said the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at four NSW universities was around $90 million. Yesterday he revised this figure to $160 million over the next four years. This figure could increase with UWS, UNSW and Macquarie University still to decide on their HECS levels for next year. c o n t i n u e d

DEMOCRATS MEDIA

senator.bartlett@democrats.org.au www.democrats.org.au News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.

Western Australia

Dr Nelson announced last week that the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at the University of Western Australia was around $18 million. Yesterday he revised this figure to $32 million over the next four years. Murdoch, Curtin and Edith Cowan universities are still to decide on their HECS levels for next year.

South Australia

Dr Nelson announced last week that the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at the University of Adelaide was around $18 million. Yesterday he revised this figure to $32 million over the next four years. Flinders University and the University of South Australia are still to decide on their HECS levels for next year.

Queensland

Last week Dr Nelson said the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at four QLD universities was around $100 million. Yesterday he revised this figure to $180 million over the next four years

Victoria

Last week Dr Nelson said the increased cost to students of HECS hikes at seven Victorian universities was around $150 million. Yesterday he revised this figure to $260 million over the next four years.

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