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Funding shemozzle: Nelson backs down on uni package.



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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

FUNDING SHEMOZZLE - NELSON BACKS DOWN ON UNI PACKAGE

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga

Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has been forced into a breath taking back-down over the Howard Government’s higher education package.

Dr Nelson has been forced to massively increase the amount of cover-up funding in his so-called non- negotiable package to hide the fact that so many universities will lose funds under his higher education plan.

Overnight, the Education Minister’s transition fund has miraculously increased from $12.6 million for one year to a staggering $38.6 million over three years.

This increase follows the release of figures which reveal that nearly a quarter of Australian universities will be worse off under the Howard Government’s proposed university changes.

Nine universities will lose a staggering combined $43 million between 2005 and 2007, according to the figures from the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST).

Even with the bail-out, universities will not be any better off. Many will be forced to consider massive fee hikes for students because of the Howard Government’s earlier funding cuts.

The overnight increase is further evidence that the Howard Government’s university package is a mess and that the Education Minister is in a panic.

Dr Nelson needs to go back to the drawing board and do all his sums again. His package is seriously flawed and is unraveling with every passing day.

This hugely embarrassing back down is from an Education Minister who has publicly maintained that his higher education package must be accepted in its current form and as a whole.

Dr Nelson must urgently detail where the new funding is coming from and must immediately guarantee that the overnight funding increase will not be drawn from other higher education initiatives.

More information: Joanna Brent 02 6277 4045; 0408 473 278

9 July 2003