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Nelson's concessions smoke and mirrors.



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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

MEDIA RELEASE

18.11.03

Nelson's concessions smoke and mirrors

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today dismissed the changes to the federal government's higher education bills as "smoke and mirrors", given that they simply deliver on earlier promises.

"Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson has always said there was going to be cap on HECS. To announce today a legislative assurance of that is simply to deliver on an earlier promise. It's no compromise," Senator Nettle said.

On May 21st just after the package was announced Dr Nelson said: "There is no proposal at all to raise that cap (on HECS fees). I think what we're proposing is as high as it should go." (The Australian Higher Education Supplement.)

"The package still retains industrial relations measures rejected by all parties other than government, student fee rises, and attacks on student services and democratic input on governance," Senator Nettle said.

"If the independent senators, the AVCC and other significant players in this debate are true to their word, then this package will not pass the Senate.

"The government-induced financial crisis facing our universities must not be used as an excuse to sell out the long-term interests of students, their families and the sector as a whole. Students, their families and the sector should not have to pay for the government's failure to invest in higher education.

"The government can and should re-invest the billions of dollars it has cut from the sector over the past seven years. This investment should occur without strings attached, and in a way that preserves and strengthens the quality and accessibility of our public university system.

Contact Jon Edwards - 0428 213 146