Currently, there are 3 million Australians with outstanding student debts; over 66% of these debtors are represented by Australians aged between 20 and 40. The demographic represented includes low-income earners and young families already facing financial hardship due to the rising cost of living. In the context of this inquiry, we are concerned that some of the most vulnerable Australians will regress on paying off their student debt when the legislated indexation takes effect on June 1st.
Increasing the repayment rate at the minimum income repayment threshold to meet indexation would be an inappropriate response during a time when Australians, especially young families, are struggling with the cost of living. Many experiencing financial hardship have been advised to reach out to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to arrange deferring payments, but this is a temporary solution that does not address the accumulation of debt through annual indexation.
A sequel to our Comparative Review of the ARC report, this report is more contentious than pointing out the discrepancies between our research agency, the governance, and their processes to those found overseas. We highlight the difference in attitude towards research, the differing views of the purpose of research and how some of the common recommendations may or may not be feasible but offer alternatives we have found based on precedence.
Finally, it will suggest that whatever form this transformation takes, a quick insert of a cultural value of a foreign country directly into our legislation is not a long-term solution. We should aim to express these ideals in a way that will resonate with the Australian Public, thereby making it uniquely Australian.