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Senator calls on Queensland Coalition MPs to force Nelson to reverse university funding & VSU policies.



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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Bartlett Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland

Dated: 20 April 2005

Press Release Number: 05/188 Portfolio: Higher Education

Senator Calls on Queensland Coalition MPs to Force Nelson to Reverse University Funding & VSU Policies

Queensland Democrat, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has called on Liberal and National Party MPs to publicly pressure Education Minister Brendan Nelson to reverse his disastrous decision not to properly index funding for Universities.

This decision by the Federal Government will mean universities fall further behind every year, and the costs to students will increase as the quality of their education decreases, Senator Bartlett said.

Queensland universities will be hit particularly hard by this refusal to fund universities to keep pace with inflation, especially with so many campuses based in regional parts of the State.

Queensland gave John Howard the last seat he needed to control the Senate, so Queenslanders need to be stronger than ever in demanding their Coalition politicians stand firm against damaging Government policies, as the Democrats can no longer provide this protection on our own.

This kick in the guts to universities from Brendan Nelson comes at the same time as the Government is also planning to introduce Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU), which will further reduce the services available to students.

It will be communities and Universities in regional areas that will suffer most from these ideologically-driven VSU changes.

This is the price that Queensland is having to pay for giving the Government control of the Senate. The only way to stop such socially and economically damaging policies is for Liberal and National party politicians in Queensland to stand up for their communities and tell Minister Nelson they will not wear it.

"Proper indexation of funding is the only way to ensure quality in Australian universities, especially in the face of growing international competition from other institutions of learning. If that quality is put at risk, the education and job opportunities of Queenslanders will be lost.

With a shortage in key professions, a downturn in the funds provided through international students and the ideologically destructive VSU measure all making it harder for our Universities and communities, the last thing needed is the Government reducing the level of real funding they provide.