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Labor's HECS relief to start tomorow.



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Media Release Jenny Macklin MP Deputy Federal Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga

LABOR’S HECS RELIEF TO START TOMORROW

Tomorrow’s increase in the HECS repayment threshold to $35,000 puts in place the first part of Labor’s $2.34 billion Aim Higher policy.

Labor announced this policy last July.

Lifting the threshold to $35,000 will provide much needed relief to the thousands of students who have been slugged by the Howard Government’s unfair HECS repayment schedule.

For the last seven years the Howard Government has forced students to start paying back their HECS debts when earning incomes as low as $20,700.

The Howard Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to adopt Labor’s policy.

Faced with the potential defeat of its unfair 25 per cent HECS hikes the Howard Government reluctantly adopted Labor’s policy in December.

Labor opposed the Howard Government’s lowering of the HECS repayment threshold from $28,495 to $20,701 in 1996 and went to the 1998 and 2001 federal elections with policies to increase it.

The Howard Government rejected these efforts and continued to hit students who could afford it the least with hefty HECS bills.

While we welcome the Howard Government’s belated support for Labor’s HECS threshold increase, students will continue to face 25 per cent HECS hikes if the Howard Government is re-elected.

Labor will provide much needed relief for all students by increasing the threshold and reversing the Howard Government’s unfair HECS hikes.

Having implemented Labor’s policy to increase the HECS threshold we look forward to the Howard Government adopting the following measures from Labor’s $2.34 billion Aim Higher:

• Reverse the Howard Government’s 25 per cent HECS hikes. • End all full fee places for Australian undergraduates. • Create an extra 20,000 university and 20,000 TAFE places. • Properly index university grants. • Establish a $450 million Universities of the 21st Century Fund.

More info: Shannon Rees 0438 950 375 30 June 2004