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Issue #1674      February 25, 2015

Deregulation of uni fees will hit future generations

If the Prime Minister is serious about not wanting to “saddle our children and grandchildren with debt and deficit,” then he has no option but to dump his plans to deregulate university fees, which would see many students paying $100,000 for a degree.

“Many students will accumulate debts of $100,000 or more if the government proceeds with its plans to deregulate university fees, and many others will give up hope of ever affording a university education,” national president of National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU0, Jeannie Rea said.

“Therefore, why is the Prime Minister proceeding with a higher policy that will saddle our children and grandchildren with large personal debt and deficit?

“As part of its budget repair agenda the government wants to shift the burden of who pays for higher education away from the government and onto the shoulders of students and their families. This will result in a direct hit to family budgets as they struggle for decades to repay high levels of student debt.”

The government’s own projections show that total student debt will reach $50 billion within a few years. If the government proceeds with fee deregulation the NTEU estimates that total student debt will be greater than total Commonwealth net debt by the mid 2020s.

“Australians understand that if the government cuts health and education and other critical services then the cost of paying for these will simply be shifted onto households.

“This cost and debt shifting is not only inherently unfair because it impacts more heavily on the most disadvantaged in our society, it is also bad for our economic and social wellbeing.

“If the Prime Minister is listening he will understand that he needs to dump his government’s plans for $100,000 degrees because they will saddle future generations with large debts and shift the burden of budget repair onto ordinary households, in direct contradiction to his stated policy objectives,” Rea concluded.

Next article – Manus Island message to people of Australia

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