Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on Education Minister Christopher Pyne to scrap his plans to deregulate the university sector following announcements of huge staff and course cuts at La Trobe University.
"Funding cuts under both Labor and Coalition governments have bled universities dry," Senator Rhiannon said.
"The $65 million cuts announced at La Trobe will see 350 staff fired and the existing five faculties merged into two colleges.
"These funding cuts coupled with Mr Pyne's attempt to deregulate the sector will have devastating effects on smaller and regional universities.
"Deregulation is opposed by students, staff and a number of university Vice-Chancellors. It should be scrapped.
"What we are seeing at La Trobe is likely to be the beginning of a huge overhaul to the higher education sector which is going to create a more unequal, elitist education system.
"As we have seen in the VET sector, deregulation and forced competition from publicly subsidised private colleges have completely undermined TAFE - driving up costs and driving down education quality.
"It is completely unacceptable that this government is willing to cut billions out of universities leading to hundreds of job cuts in order to subsidise private, for-profit education companies," Senator Rhiannon said.
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