Dipping into higher education funds to keep a budget surplus promise is short-sighted and will only harm Australia’s long-term productivity, said Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon in response to moves by Treasurer Wayne Swan to find $640 in savings from higher education programs.
“Labor promised an education revolution and this blow to tertiary students really is revolting”, said Senator Rhiannon.
“The Greens are calling for a 10 per cent rise in federal support per university student to stop job losses and safeguard teaching quality, as recommended by the Bradley Review.
“If the government go ahead with these measures, any savings should be ploughed straight back into the higher education sector.
“The Greens point to $9 billion in fossil fuel subsidies identified in Treasury’s own costings, that could replace students as the front line for finding budget savings.
“Two years ago, the Labor government held maths and science up as a national priority and lowered HECS fees.
“Treasurer Swan has now turned his back on maths and science education in this country, for the sake of $400 million savings.
“Almost doubling HECS fees for maths and science students to over $8000 per year will surely see a decline in the number of people choosing the study in this area.
“Investing in education, especially maths and science, is essential to raising productivity in this country," said Senator Rhiannon.