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Productivity Commission report a blow to university fee deregulation.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australian Democrats Higher Education Spokesperson 11 February 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/071

Productivity Commission report a blow to university fee deregulation

The Productivity Commission Report, University Resourcing: Australia In An International Context, highlights the extraordinarily high reliance universities already have on student fees, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Higher Education spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said the report found that Australian university students contribute more to university revenues than their counterparts from any other OECD nation.

“The Commission’s findings are a blow to advocates of further deregulation of student fees,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

“There is no evidence that there is any capacity to increase student fees to make up the serious level of Government under-investment.

“The Commission confirms the decline in public investment in universities as a percentage of GDP from 1.5% in 1996 to 1.2% in 1999.

“However, the real point is the decline of 0.3% represents a reduction of more than $500 million in total revenues.

“Another key finding is that staff:student ratios are deteriorating and are not competitive with Canada and the United States.

“The Commission’s report is not comprehensive, however, it confirms that Australian universities are not adequately resourced in international terms and the gap is widening,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

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