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Nelson ignores the real issues in university power play.



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Jenny Macklin MP Acting Federal Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Education, Training, Science & Research Federal Member for Jagajaga

NELSON IGNORES THE REAL ISSUES IN UNIVERSITY POWER PLAY

Education Minister Brendan Nelson’s push to take control of Australia’s universities is a further demonstration that he will do anything to avoid addressing the real issues facing the sector.

Brendan Nelson has failed to explain how his proposal for federal control of higher education will address the real problems faced by our universities: high fees, too few HECS places and lack of indexation of university funding under the Howard Government.

The Education Minister wants to distract attention from the fact that the Howard Government is forcing students and their families to make up for inadequate funding.

The Howard Government is pushing the cost of education higher and higher, by increasing HECS fees, expanding the number of full fee degrees costing as much as $210,000 and refusing to properly index university funding.

The Howard Government’s 25 per cent HECS hikes have already seen 12,500 fewer applications for 2005 courses at Australian universities than in 2004.

Fee increases are also discouraging overseas students from applying for Australian universities.

University vice-chancellors have identified lack of proper indexation of university funding as the most important issue for Australian universities.

Brendan Nelson’s discussion paper will do nothing to address the critical issues of high fees and lack of indexation.

Brendan Nelson’s only response to the Howard Government’s university crisis is to release a discussion paper increasing federal control of universities, when he should be properly indexing their funding.

Labor will consider any proposals for Australia’s higher education that focus on addressing the real issues affecting Australian universities and their students, staff and families.

More info: Nick Talbot 0408 473 278 20 December 2004