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SA unmet demand triples.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Higher Education

Dated: 10 June 2005

Press Release Number: 05/311 Portfolio: Higher Education

SA Unmet Demand Triples

Figures released by the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) today reveal that unmet demand for university places in South Australia has more than tripled since 2001, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats' Higher Education Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja called on the Government to immediately introduce 1,400 additional university places for South Australia, so young South Australians are not locked out of university.

"Although national unmet demand decreased from last year, South Australia has bucked this trend with unmet demand growing by 27 percent, denying 1,400 South Australians a place at university this year," Senator Stott Despoja said.

"South Australians already have to face increased HECS fees at all three of our universities, but now those who are willing to face these HECS hikes are finding it increasingly difficult to access a university place in South Australia.

"The number of South Australians accepting an offer for a place at university this year was the lowest in five years - a clear signal of the impact of the 25 percent HECS increases.

"There are many new pressures facing students, including the likely loss of many essential student services from next year as a result of so-called voluntary student unionism; the 8 percent hike in the cost of textbooks from the abolition of the Educational Textbook Subsidy Scheme; the unfair treatment of students on Commonwealth Learning Scholarships; and, inadequate income support.

"The Minister can not ignore it: higher education requires significant reinvestment, not user pays or further cost shifting.

"The most worrying aspect of this data is that the new calculation method used by the AVCC has revealed that national unmet demand was over 35,000 for the last two years and the current level is still significantly higher than 2001 levels.

"These appalling figures show the damage the Government's policies have caused universities in recent years.

"At a time when Australia is facing shortages in key professions, such as science, teaching and allied health, the Government should be providing increased opportunities for applicants willing to enter those professions," Senator Stott Despoja said.