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Minister Panicked by Tent City



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S TEL. (03) 5 5 7 4 6 4 4

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D R D A V ID K E M P , M .P .

F E D E R A L M E M B E R FO R G O L D S T E IN S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R E D U C A T IO N

24 March 1992

MEDIA RELEASE

MINISTER PANICKED BY TENT CITY

"The unsavoury sight of the Minister for Higher Education falling over himself to appease the National Union of Students over the AUSTUDY Review only reinforces the growing perception of a government dancing to lobby group pressures, and ignoring the wider interests of students and the community", the Shadow Minister for Education, Dr. David Kemp, said today.

"The Review's draft report expressed its concern over major inequities in the current operation of tertiary AUSTUDY. Students who miss out on support have nowhere to go, and may have to give up their educational ambitions. Mr. Baldwin says there is no evidence of this. Where has he been?

"There are many young people in rural Australia who do not qualify for AUSTUDY even though their families' incomes have collapsed completely." Dr. Kemp said. It is no wonder that the Government's response to this problem has been so pathetic when the Minister admits that he is unaware of the problem.

"Whatever judgement may be finally reached about the options presented by the Review, Mr. Baldwin is simply wrong in stating that, on the basis of the family income measure, its main option is 'unambiguously regressive'. There are families whose incomes are very low -possibly even negative - who are precluded from AUSTUDY under current rules. Indeed, an analysis of the effect over a lifetime's earnings would demonstrate that the draft Report's main option is unambiguously

progressive.

"The really disturbing thing about the Minister's letter, however, is its obviously cynicaly political character. It is an attempt to appease the National Union of Students which is organising protests this week against the AUSTUDY Review.

"It is sad that the government thinks that NUS support is worth begging for, even if means dumping on the draft report of an inquiry which the Government itself has initiated, and which has drawn attention to serious inequities in current arrangements".

Dr. Kemp said that the Liberal and National Parties would consider the final Report, which he hoped would be a valuable contribution to the national debate on student

P A R U A M E N iA x Y L; Ex ARY

financial assistance.

He said the Opposition was determined to ensure a system of student financial assistance which was fair and equitable for all students, and under which no one would be deterred from participating in further education or training on financial grounds alone.

It was an area of policy which deserved rational debate, not cynical political manoeuvring.

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