House debates

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Statements by Members

Higher Education

1:57 pm

Photo of Ms Anna BurkeMs Anna Burke (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

More than 50,000 students call my electorate home at the Monash University campus in Clayton and Deakin University campus in Burwood—50,000 students who have been lied to by this Prime Minister.

Before the election he said that there would be no cuts to education. Before the election the Minister for Education said they were not going to raise university fees. Both of these promises were broken this morning and I suspect that they never intended to keep them. They were hollow promises because they have rolled out reform. Reform is meant to benefit someone; there is no benefit in the education packages outlined by the Minister Education this morning.

Now 50,000 students studying in my electorate risk having their HELP debts incur an interest rate of up to six per cent, increasing the cost of their current degrees. This is something they never knew about when they embarked upon this process. Universities will suffer a budget cut of $5.8 billion, forcing them to dramatically increase fees just to cover the costs of this cut. These are fees that could see people spending more on their university education than they will on their mortgages.

No Australian should have to think twice about getting an education. We have had a proud country where everybody, regardless of postcode, could go to university. That is now a thing of the past. The government's plans mean anybody on middle or low incomes will think twice before they can embark upon a degree. Students are now asking, 'Is it an opportunity for me to go to university?' This should be an opportunity for all.