With the release of the 2017/18 budget, news came that the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program would be put into legislation. The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) and the higher education sector breathed a sigh of relief at this news. However, Monday’s pre-budget announcements failed to mention that a further $7 million would be cut from the already heavily reduced program.
CAPA is dismayed that this was omitted during the announcement and just adds insult to the already injured higher education sector. Presenting the decimation of HEPPP as a restructure further obscures the impact this cut will have on low-SES individuals.
It is disappointed that the 2017/2018 Federal Budget benefits those at the top by raiding the pockets of students. It is particularly pernicious that funding has been ripped out from a program which gives a helping hand to disadvantaged students.
The future of Australia requires a robust and stable university system, with equitable access for less privileged groups, is essential to the health of the nation and its economy. Unfortunately, the Federal Government has indicated the opposite through their budget which implements austerity to those who can afford it the least.
CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire says, “Students are already expected to bear the burden of some of the highest fees for degrees in the world. Now, the nation’s most disadvantaged students are not even given token support in pursuing an education.”
“Finally putting HEPPP into legislation is the right move but it would have been nice if it was done before it became a shadow of its former self,” he says.
For comment: Peter Derbyshire CAPA National President M: 0435 047 817 firstname.lastname@example.org