Media Release: Labor shows strong support for universities and their students
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) congratulates the Labor Opposition on its decision today to oppose Christopher Pyne’s damaging funding cuts to Australian universities and their students.
“The higher education sector will be extremely pleased that Labor will not support changes to the higher education and social security legislation which would result in universities losing on average $600 per student in government funding and the abolition of student start-up scholarships which would result in our most disadvantaged students losing $2,050 per year,” Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President said today.
The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, introduced the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 into the House of Representatives on 20 November 2013. Amongst other things, this Bill intends to abolish existing university student start-up scholarships (two grants of $1,025 per year to eligible students) and replace them from 1 January 2014 with income-contingent student start-up loans. The following day the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Savings and Other Measures) Bill 2013. This Bill slashes more than $900m from university grants over the next four years and will cost students almost $300m in lost discounts for early repayment of their HECS debts.
“All university staff and students and their families will be delighted by the news that Labor is not prepared to support cuts that Minister Pyne openly admitted in his second reading speech would be damaging to our universities.”
“While Minister Pyne will try to blame these cuts on Labor, he needs to accept full responsibility, especially given the fiasco he has created in relation to funding for school improvement,” Rea concluded.
For further comment please contact:
Jeannie Rea, National President 0434 609 531