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Wednesday, 24 March 2004
Page: 21838


Senator RIDGEWAY (3:47 PM) —At the request of Senator Stott Despoja, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the following nine universities have decided to increase their higher education contribution scheme (HECS) fees for 2005, most of them by the full 25 per cent across all disciplines: the University of Sydney, Griffith University, La Trobe University, Queensland University of Technology, Newcastle University, Deakin University, University of Southern Queensland, Swinburne University and Monash University,

(ii) only three universities have decided to decrease HECS fees for 2005 in a few disciplines,

(iii) increasing HECS fees will further deter students from low socio-economic backgrounds, and

(iv) 31 March 2004 will be the National Day of Action for university students who will be protesting against the Government's `Backing Australia's Future: Our Universities' policy and specifically against HECS increases;

(b) supports constructive attempts by students to prevent the remaining universities increasing HECS fees; and

(c) condemns the Government for under-funding universities for the past 7 years to such an extent that universities are now turning to students to provide a short-term increase in funding.

Question agreed to.