Senate debates

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013; In Committee

12:01 pm

Photo of Jan McLucasJan McLucas (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Mental Health) Share this | Hansard source

I move amendment (4) on sheet 7456:

(4) Clause 2, page 2 (cell at table item 3, column 1), omit the cell, substitute:

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: The question is that amendment (4) on sheet 7456 be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

I move opposition amendment (13) on sheet 7456 which opposes schedule 6 in the following terms:

(13) Schedule 6, page 39 (line 1) to page 102 (line 12), TO BE OPPOSED.

This goes to the question of student start-up loans. We will not be supporting the student start-up loans that have been proposed in the legislation. The measure seeks to convert the current Student Start-Up Scholarship program into an income-contingent loan program to be offered to full-time higher education students in receipt of Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy.

When we were in government we did propose a similar measure. But make no mistake our measure had one purpose alone: to fund the Better Schools Plan. Today, as we know, that plan lies in tatters. Despite going to the election on a so-called unity ticket, when it comes to school funding the government have now walked away from Labor's Better Schools Plan. They have refused to commit the $14.65 billion in additional funding for schools that was promised by the Labor Party. They have given no assurance that the states will not cut school funding. This government cannot be trusted on education, whether it be primary or secondary schools, higher education or vocational education. Now there is no sign that they would use the funds from this measure for education. This is a cut just for a cut's sake, and the Labor Party will not support it. That is why we are opposing its inclusion in today's legislation. We are opposing this, just as we opposed the measures in the higher education support amendment bill, which has been discussed.


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