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Higher Education Support (Charges) Bill 2018 [provisions] Higher Education Support Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2018 [provisions]
Labor Senators' Additional Comments
Since the election of the Government in 2013, universities and students have been under constant attack with cuts, attempts at fee deregulation, policy chaos and uncertainty. The 2017 MYEFO decisions to cut $2.2 billion from universities, effectively recap undergraduate places, and change the Higher Education Loan Program were reckless and unfair. Thousands of students will miss out on the opportunity of a university place because of the Government’s cuts and capping of places.
In contrast, Labor has a positive plan for investing in our universities and our people. Labor has committed to return to the demand driven funding system, ensure three year funding agreements, fund more equity and pathway programs to encourage more students to go to university, and provide much needed funding for infrastructure through our $300 million University Future Fund. Labor’s positive policies will see around $10 billion in additional funding flow to universities over the decade.
Labor won’t oppose these bills because of the very small impact they will have on the sector, especially in the context of our policies to properly fund the sector.
Labor has concerns about how the charges and other aspects of the bill will operate over the long term. Labor will seek assurances that the new scheme must ensure there is not a negative impact on students—it is simply not fair for any of these small additional charges to flow through to students or undermine equity in Australia’s university system.
Labor also notes our policy to undertake a once-in-a-generation National Inquiry into post-secondary education. This Inquiry will examine the current funding system and income contingent loans scheme to ensure they are sustainable and fair.
Senator Gavin MarshallSenator Deborah O'Neill
Deputy ChairMember
Senator Louise Pratt
Participating Member