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Nelson's big swindle: no limit on HECS increases.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Education & Training Federal Member for Jagajaga


The Howard Government’s higher education legislation does not limit increases in HECS fees to a maximum 30 per cent.

A report in today’s Australian Financial Review reveals that the legislation includes a provision for the Eduction Minister to increase HECS fees over and above 30 per cent after 2005.

That means the higher education legislation does not reflect what Dr Nelson has been telling the Australian people.

The Education Minister has been misleading the public when he has repeatedly promised that under his changes HECS fees would increase by a maximum of 30 per cent.

There is only one possible reason for allowing the Minister to raise the 30 per cent cap on HECS increases - to allow even bigger hikes in HECS fees.

A 30 per cent increase in HECS fees is bad enough. Dr Nelson wants to leave the door open to even higher increases.

This flies in the face of the Education Minister’s platitudes about limiting his proposed deregulation of university fees:

this Government will not be supporting any kind of unfettered market in relation to universities (25 July 2002)

the maximum possible debt that [students] could face graduating as a vet, a dentist, or a doctor, is almost $50,000 (24 July 2002)

Every last dollar paid in HECS—up to a possible maximum of 30 per cent—will go to the university (16 September 2003)

This is a giant swindle.

Dr Nelson’s legislation provides for an open slather market with no cap on HECS fees and no limit to how much a degree will cost.

More info: Joanna Brent 0408 473 278 19 September 2003