The Federal Government has wasted no time with the carving knives as it sets to work sticking the blades into higher education. Less than 48hrs after the budget legislation aimed at slashing $3.8 billion has already been introduced into the lower house. This move has been condemned uniformly by the entire sector in a show of unity greater than even the fee deregulation threat achieved.
The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations condemns not only these cuts but the Federal Governments clear refusal to adhere to the principles of evidence based policy. It is a false assumption that Commonwealth Support Place funding is used purely for teaching. The argument for the cuts also rely on a report which explains that there are issues with comparing the cost of teaching over the past 5 years.
“Taking the carving knives to Australia’s 3rd largest export, an export that provides a boost of 8.5% to the GDP, is just lunacy,” says CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire
As for student fees, research from the Australian Institute already shows that Australian students are paying some of the highest fees in the world while at the same time government investment level in universities are at a lower rate than even the US.
“Increased student fees are not even paying for a better quality education, they are going to cover a $50 billion tax break for big business”, Mr Derbyshire
The decreased HECS/HELP repayment threshold is also ready to go. A move that, although legal, is entirely against basic principles of fairness. There are far better options to ensure relief to speed up HECS/HELP repayments but apparently taxing low-income graduates for up to 50+ years is the so called “right-choice”.
“The Minister’s favourite line at the moment is that no student will pay a cent upfront for their degree. What is not told to students is that, on a whim, your student loan can be changed even after you graduate,” said Mr Derbyshire. “It is entirely possible that lowering this threshold is an admission that the Federal Government cannot ensure that its budget can ensure high paying graduate jobs in Australia.”
For comment: Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President M: 0435 047 817 firstname.lastname@example.org