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Transcript of doorstop: Canberra: Tuesday 24 June 2003: higher education; non-government schools.

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Jenny MacklinMP Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP - CANBERRA TUESDAY 24 JUNE 2003 E & OE - PROOF ONLY Subjects: Higher education; non-government schools MACKLIN: Today in the Sydney Morning Herald it has become clear that the University of Sydney is increasing its fees by the full 30 per cent that the Government is allowing them. This will significantly add to the debts that students at the University of Sydney carry. Just to give you one example, a science student will now pay an extra $4000 for their degree as a result of this government allowing the university to put up its fees. So we are going to see higher and higher debts for Australian students, we’re going to see students put off from going to university because of these increases. JOURNALIST: If a university like Sydney decides to do this, what message would that send to other tertiary institutions across the country? MACKLIN: We do expect to see many other universities put up their fees by the full 30 per cent because the government is saying to universities `This is the only way you are going to get increased funding. You’re only going to get increased funding at our universities if you put up your fees’. And as a result, of course, we’ve seen first the University of Sydney decide to put their fees up by the full 30 per cent. I do expect other universities will follow suit and we will see university students all around Australia have increased debt as a result. JOURNALIST: What’s driving Labor’s policy re funding for private schools? MACKLIN: Labor wants to see funding for private schools on the basis of need. We do know that there are needy private schools and we want to make sure that all of our schools, both government and non-government, are able to have the resources they need to provide an excellent education. What we also know, however, is that we have many, many of our elite private schools getting huge increases in grants from the Howard Government. I’ll just give you one example, once again from Sydney. Trinity Grammar, for example, has received since 2001 an increase of 560* per cent. That’s how much extra Trinity Grammar has got from the Howard Government since 2001. We do not agree that Trinity Grammar is a needy school. We want to make sure that the allocation of public funding goes to schools, public and private, that are needy.

JOURNALIST: If it is based on need is it possible that some private schools would end up with no Commonwealth funding?

MACKLIN: No, I don’t think so. I think it is important to give some support to all students. But we do need to make sure that that is based on need, that we take into account the fees that these schools charge. Some of these schools are charging fees of $15,000 a year. We should be taking those fees into account when we assess how needy those schools are.

JOURNALIST: Any thoughts on (inaudible) reshuffle?



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* Correction made.