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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12232

Ms CHESTERS (Bendigo) (13:29): Over 60 per cent of metro students say they are keen to go to university, compared with only 32 per cent from regional and remote communities. There is already a divide between city and country when it comes to students wanting to access university. The fact we are now facing $100,000 university degrees is only going to exacerbate the problem.

Regional students moving to the city already face increased costs—the costs of setting up a new home and of going to university. Regional students also face barriers when it comes to their own university. The facts are simple: if you increase university fees and deregulate the sector, less students will go. Cost will be a barrier. The pressure that will put on our regional universities cannot be underestimated. We have already seen it happen in the TAFE sector in my state of Victoria. When funding was cut from the TAFE sector and TAFEs were allowed to increase fees, we saw drops in student numbers. We then saw courses and campuses close. The exact same thing will happen in our regions and at our regional universities.

This government has to reverse its plans to increase university fees. Students will not go to university. Regional students will be disproportionately affected if this government proceeds and introduces $100,000 degrees.