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Western Sydney rejects Howard Government uni plan.



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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga WESTERN SYDNEY REJECTS HOWARD GOVERNMENT UNI PLAN

The people of Western Sydney have flatly rejected the Howard Government’s unfair university changes.

A new survey conducted by Newspoll for the University of Western Sydney (UWS) reveals next to no support for the Howard Government’s university changes in Western Sydney.

According to the survey, the Government’s plans for UWS have the appeal of a dead cat.

The survey reveals that:

• nine out of ten people surveyed disagree with the Howard Government’s plan to cut funding to the UWS • 76 % of respondents think that UWS should get more funding • 90 % of respondents think that university fees should main unchanged or be lowered • 75 % of people surveyed say that they or their family members have used or are likely to use the

university’s facilities • more than half of respondents say that the issue of government funding for UWS and universities in general will influence the way they vote at the next election.

These results are a jolting slap in the face for the Education Minister.

They represent a searing rejection of the Education Minister’s proposed university changes as well as a direct contradiction of his routine assertion that most taxpayers never see the inside of a university.

The survey of 400 Western Sydney residents shows that the vast majority have a connection to the university, view UWS as a central part of their community, and are opposed to the Howard Government’s plans to cut UWS funding.

The people of Western Sydney are rightly angry about the Howard Government’s plans to cut tens of millions of dollars in funding and to deregulate university fees.

UWS is in desperate need of more, not less, public support. Since 1996, the Howard Government has cut over $270 million from UWS and the number of students per teaching staff has blown out by 28 per cent between 1996 and 2001.

Under Labor's $2.34 billion package, UWS would not lose any of its existing funding and would also receive additional funding through a number of measures including:

• 21,000 more full- and part-time commencing university places to be distributed across Australia • a new indexation measure that will deliver an additional $312 million to Australian universities by 2007 • a competitive $450 million Universities of the 21st Century fund to support university reform • a $150 million Community Engagement fund to support regional, rural and outer-suburban

universities’ leadership role in local communities • $150 million to reward excellence in teaching and learning • $347.6 million to properly fund all university places at the full Commonwealth rate, including

25,000 places that the Howard Government currently funds on the cheap.

More info: Joanna Brent 02 6277 4045; 0408 473 278 19 August 2003

Survey available at http://apps.uws.edu.au/media/news/index.phtml?act=view&story_id=507