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Coalition conning students

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Coalition Conning Students Senator Natasha Stott Despoja The Australian Democrats

19 March 1996 - MEDIA RELEASE

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Democrat Higher Education Spokesperson, has demanded the Coalition come clean on plans to increase HECS payments for new students.

"Last week Senator Vanstone attempted to woo Australian youth by going on Triple J to talk about the issues that mattered to them. When asked about HECS Senator Vanstone failed to rule out increases for future student intakes.

"The new Government is leaving year 11 and 12 students in the lurch. They are studying now to get places they don't yet know if they will be able to afford.

"These students are entitled to some indication as to what their future prospects might be. Instead they got nothing from the new minister for Higher Education and Youth Affairs last week.

"Four successive years of the Democrats Youth Poll shows Education is one of the top youth concerns. 77% of all 15- 19 year olds surveyed in Youth Poll 96 believe that education should be free.

"Those 15 - 19 year olds will get out of school just in time to be hit with an even harsher tertiary tax under a Coalition government.

"60% of year 12 students want to take on further education, yet only 45% believe they will get there.

"That is an appalling indictment to the last 13 years of Labor in power. If the Coalition's election promise to 'give hope to our young' is to be believed they are going to have to do better than this.

"I challenge the new minister to make education affordable and accessible rather than place it even further out of the reach of young Australians. It's time we considered education an investment and not a cost", concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

For further information contact: Jo Chichester on 08 370 8055


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