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Elitist university policy leaves regions behind.

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Senator Kerry Nettle

Senator for New South Wales

Elitist university policy leaves regions behind 18th May 04

Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Kerry Nettle, today cited a James Cook University report on the aspirations of students and parents in rural Australia as evidence that the Government’s higher education policies are failing regional and rural Australia.

“This report confirms The Greens’ warnings that regional Australia will lose out as a result of the government’s increases in university fees and lack of investment in rural universities,” Senator Nettle said.

“Fees put people off going to university. This leads to an elitist system where wealth is more important than talent and effort in gaining a place at university.

“The Minister’s elitist vision for our university system particularly disadvantages rural students.

“Relative funding cuts to regional universities mean they struggle to offer a full range of courses. This forces more students to face the high costs of relocation to city universities.

The report says the "material financial cost" of going to university "was clearly a disincentive" and a "barrier strong enough to rule out any real consideration of leaving town for further education".

“Instead of tax cuts the government should ha ve abolished university fees and made a lasting investment in the prosperity of the nation, particularly regional Australia.

“The Greens lobbied for a significant increase in funding for all universities and a

regional loading to account for the extra costs those universities face in order to

supply a full range of high quality courses.

“The government’s handful of scholarships for relocation does not address the ongoing failure of Austudy and Youth Allowance payments to meet student’s needs.

“The government should do more to enable regional student to gain the quality education they need at regional institutions, and support those who relocate to metropolitan universities.”

Contact Jon Edwards - 0428 213 146