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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Page: 9383

Mr MITCHELL (McEwenSecond Deputy Speaker) (13:48): I rise to share my outrage and disgust at the appalling changes the Abbott government are attempting to make to higher education. The hikes to funding for university—

Mr Tudge: What a surprise you are talking about that.

Mr MITCHELL: Do not speak, you are about as bright as a dark room. The hikes for funding for university degrees are simply widening the gap between regional areas and the city. Young people in the rural and regional areas of my electorate of McEwen are already being shafted with this budget of broken promises. Young apprentices have had their Tools For Your Trade funding cut. Promised trade training centres are no longer going ahead. Those under 30 and out of work will have to wait six months for Centrelink payments. Young families will be losing critical funds from the vicious cuts to family tax benefits. The fuel tax is already a slug on their tight budgets—and now this. The hopes of young people in our regional areas to attend uni are being dashed by this heartless, money-grubbing government. For those living in regional areas, the number of opportunities are less than in the cities to begin with. Our students have to work harder than most to reach their goals of attending university due to restricted access to facilities and funding in regional areas. But now, with the prospect of $100,000 degrees and the HECS interest rate increasing, it will become near impossible for some regional students to strive for the life they dream of. The divide between the haves and the have-nots is getting wider and wider under this government, especially between the cities and regional Australia. I, and Labor, strongly oppose these measures. I refuse to let this heartless government ruin the potential and opportunities of hardworking regional students, simply because out-of-touch, ideological dinosaurs do not care—(Time expired)