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Monday, 16 September 1996
Page: 3496

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Senate in the Parliament Assembled:

This petition of citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House the pending legislative changes affecting Tertiary Education and Austudy. The petitioners humbly pray that the house recognise their opposition to these changes.

We oppose the proposed changes to Austudy living allowance, including the increase in the age of independence to twenty-five years. We seek your support in this matter. Tertiary Education will no longer be accessible to students from Rural and Regional areas of Australia. It is not only education that is expensive to these students, but living costs such as rent, which are not being considered. Tertiary Students fear that the Government no longer view Tertiary Education as a priority. We seek stability in the education sector. We also oppose proposed increases in HECS and the introduction of upfront fees for some students. We believe that the proposed changes will be to the detriment of our educated and democratic society. We urge the Parliament to consider these points, keeping in mind that the future of thousands of families will be affected by these changes.

We the petitioners, call on the Parliament to reconsider the proposal and ensure that current standards of education and funding can be available in the future.