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Nelson's numbers jump 80% in six days.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP Deputy Federal Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga


Today in Parliament the Education Minister admitted that he can’t get his facts straight from one week to the next.

His figures on how much extra students and their families will be paying through the Howard Government’s HECS increases have jumped 80 per cent in just six days.

Last Wednesday, the Minister tabled figures in Parliament that revealed that the Howard Government was forcing students and their families to pay an extra $377 million in HECS fees over the next four years

But today he says that last week’s figures were wrong and that students and their families would actually have to pay an extra $662 million.

That’s an increase of $285 million in less than a week.

The Education Minister’s explanation today for the discrepancy makes no sense:

In fact, my department has spent the last week, in fact, further analysing this information and when the department actually takes into account the students who are currently in the system who are not effected by this then in fact… a total of $662 million of additional monies will go into universities …

The Minister is trying to claim that because the changes affect fewer people than originally thought, the figure has somehow gone up.

The Minister should come clean and explain how he made such a colossal stuff-up and apologise for misleading the public about how much more students and their families will have to pay.

Instead of gloating about the fact that the Government is gouging hundreds of millions of extra dollars out of students and their families, the Minister should heed the advice of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ballarat and adopt Labor’s policy to properly index grants.

A discussion paper prepared for the University of Ballarat Council dated 22 April 2004 states that:

With a change of Government there will be a massive injection of new funding which would obviate the need for any increases to HECS.

Unlike the Government's HECS increases, Labor’s indexation will keep growing and compounding in the future, and provide steadily increasing revenue to universities.

More info: Caroline Turnour 0408 473 278 1 June