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NT institutions $1 million worse off under Labor.

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30 July, 2003 MIN NT427/03

A detailed analysis by the Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training, and verified by the Department of Finance, has revealed a massive black hole in the costing of Labor’s higher education policy.

Labor’s ‘Aim Higher’ policy promises that all maths and science students will be moved from HECS band 2 to HECS band 1.

The Commonwealth Department of Education Science and Training analysis reports that this will cost $262.5 million dollars. Labor has budgeted just $43.6 million.

Labor’s policy will require the $218.9 million shortfall to be borne by the institutions themselves.

There are currently an estimated 275 maths and science student places in two Northern Territory institutions.

Covering the shortfall would cost Northern Territory institutions around $1 million.

The estimated indicative cost to Northern Territory institutions over three years of making up the shortfall is indicated in the following table.


Northern Territory University $974,540

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education $73,001

$1,047,541 NT TOTAL

Labor’s policy document states:

"Labor believes that areas of national skills shortage—like maths and science— should be in the

lowest HECS band to encourage more students to pursue these fields.

Under Aim Higher, students of maths and science will pay nearly $5,000 less in fees for a three year

university degree.

Labor will place mathematics and science in Band 1 of HECS to reduce course fees by $1,600 per annum."

Aim Higher: Learning, training and better jobs for more Australians, 23 July, 2003 p.14

Labor’s Education Spokesperson Jenny Macklin repeated the promise at the policy launch:

Jenny Macklin: "What we have announced in that regard is two things. One is, particularly for maths and science degrees, we will in fact reduce the cost of those degrees by $1600 a year because we do want to encourage more and more students into maths and science."

Macklin / Crean policy announcement, Parliament House, Canberra, 23 July, 2003

Current HECS bands

Band 1 $3 680 Arts, Humanities, Social Studies/Behavioural Sciences, Education, Visual/Performing Arts, Nursing, Justice and Legal Studies Band 2 $5 242 Mathematics, Computing, other Health Sciences, Agriculture/Renewable Resources, Built Environment/Architecture, Sciences, Engineering/Processing,

Administration, Business and Economics

Band 3 $6 136 Law, Medicine, Medical Science, Dentistry, Dental Services and Veterinary Science

There are a number of other discrepancies between Labor’s costing of other measures and costing prepared by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training.

Media Contact:

Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095