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Thursday, 9 December 2004
Page: 55

Senator McLUCAS (1:07 PM) —Higher education is an important part of our education system in Australia, and I think you, Madam Acting Deputy President Moore, would share with me concerns about the impact of increasing fees on people who want to get into higher education. We saw, sadly, this week the reality that enrolment levels in higher education are decreasing. I think, and certainly commentators in the sector agree, that this situation has a direct link to the fact that there has been an increase in HECS fees for many students. I concur with Senator Buckland that this will be exacerbated in regional areas, where the market question does play on students' minds and certainly those of their parents when making decisions about whether or not they can afford to enrol in higher education. I notice Senator Carr is here, and I am very pleased that he will be able to speak in the debate on the Higher Education Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2004—and probably far more powerfully than I have done.