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University fees: Nelson dumps Kemp's guarantees.



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Senator Kim Carr Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Science & Research

7 June 2002 29/02

UNIVERSITY FEES: NELSON DUMPS KEMP’S GUARANTEES

Full university fees and HECS for TAFE are now back on the agenda, a Senate Estimates Committee has been told by Commonwealth Education Department head Dr Peter Shergold.

In 1999 the previous Education Minister, Dr Kemp delivered six “cast-iron” guarantees, following the embarrassing leak of a secret 1999 Cabinet submission proposing fees and vouchers. These pledges, emanating from Cabinet, were:

• “Fees will not be deregulated

• Vouchers will not be reintroduced

• The current HECS system will remain

• There will be no additional loan system, or a real interest rate attached to the current HECS system

• The current system of Government subsidies and funded places will remain, as will the prohibition on charging fees for HECS liable places.”

The Government has now dumped all of these promises, according to Dr Shergold’s evidence.

Dr Shergold told the Committee that the Cabinet determination of 1999 had been superseded by a more recent decision to “put all these issues out in the public arena for discussion”.

“The Government’s recently released Crossroads discussion paper raises all of these issues,” said Senator Kim Carr, Shadow Minister for Science and Research.

”Today the Government has placed all of these issues back on the agenda.

“As the Government’s most senior education bureaucrat stated in relation to the agenda of fee deregulation, loans, vouchers and HECS in TAFE, the Government ‘hasn’t ruled it in; it hasn’t ruled it out’.

“We can’t trust Dr Nelson or Mr Howard to honour the Government’s 1999 commitments to students and the Australian public,” Senator Carr said. “It’s clear that these promises were delivered merely to hose down the virulent rage aroused in the community by the leaked Cabinet submission.

“The pledge was nothing but a cynical political exercise. Now we see that this disastrous and overwhelmingly rejected deregulatory plan is back with a vengeance,” Senator Carr said.

For information contact Senator Kim Carr on 02 62773730 or 0419563922

Media Release The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs K10610 18 October 1999

HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING

The Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp, today reaffirmed the current structure of higher education funding, and announced that $259 million over three years will be made available on condition that universities undertake genuine workplace reform in the interests of students and academics alike.

The Cabinet today also re-affirmed the current structure of tertiary education will remain:

• Fees will not be deregulated • Vouchers will not be introduced • HECS will not be charged for TAPE • The current HECS system will remain • There will be no additional loan system, or a real interest rate attached to the current HECS system • The current system of Government subsidies and funded places will remain, as will the prohibition on charging fees for HECS liable places

Higher education’s ability to meet student and employer needs is hamstrung by continuing workplace rigidities, and by the persistence of a tertiary union-dictared pattern bargaining agenda.

Salary supplementation for individual universities will be conditional on fundamental improvements to work practices. Details of the offer will be conveyed to the sector in due course.

“Universities need to attract and keep quality staff,” said Dr Kemp, “and this will help them do so.” The legislation to make these funds available will be introduced as soon as possible.

Cabinet also agreed to apply from 2001 new quality assurance processes in relation to all institutions seeking financial support from the Commonwealth Government. These will be developed in co-operation with the States and Territories and in consultation with the sector.

“Students are entitled to assurance that they are attending a quality institution and taxpayers should be confident that they are only funding universities that make the grade,” said Dr Kemp.

The quality assurance process will also underpin Australia’s standing in the highly competitive international student market.

Media Contact: Samantha Herron 0412 639 754 or 02 62777 460

jk 1999-10-19 09:55

Electoral Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109 Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911

Email: senator.carr@aph.gov.au Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169