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Greens release modelling and launch campaign to stop Abbott slashing university funding

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 26 Nov 2013

MEDIA RELEASE
26 November 2013

Greens release modelling and launch campaign to stop Abbott slashing university funding

The Australian Greens today launched their new campaign to block the Coalition’s bills to rip $2.3 billion out of the higher education budget.

The bills to amend the Higher Education Support Act and Social Services Act are expected to be debated in parliament next week. If Labor votes with the Greens in the Senate against these cuts they will not become law.

Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon said: “Stopping these cuts are a priority for the Greens. They will cause further damage to what is already a struggling higher education system.  

“Higher education not only prepares the Australian economy for the 21st Century, but allows students to lift themselves out of disadvantage. 

“Labor first flagged these cuts earlier this year, but now they have opportunity to show that they have responded to community pressure by opposing them in the Senate.

“They will hit Labor electorates hard. In Tanya Plibersek’s electorate of Sydney, almost 20,000 students and more than 3,000 staff will feel the impact of these cuts. The University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney will lose an estimated $81 million combined.

“In the Labor held seat of Newcastle, 75 per cent of students are on Youth Allowance and a projected 1,131 students will have their debt increased by more than $9 million over the course of their degree. The University of Newcastle is expected to lose an estimated $35 million a year due to these cuts.

“The Greens, the National Tertiary Education Union, the National Union of Students, Universities Australia and thousands of students all around Australia, have all campaigned strongly against these cuts since they were first announced by Labor earlier this year and now it is crunch time.

“Over the next week we will be activating tens of thousands of people via social media who have agreed that $2.3 billion dollars should not be cut from the higher education budget.  

“We are putting every effort into ensuring the $2.3 billion cuts are not passed in the Senate.

“The cuts will rip out $900 million of funding from Australian universities and will increase the debt of an estimated 80,000 students. 

“Students enrolling in universities next year, who are on Youth Allowance, will lose out with the conversion of Start Up Scholarships into loans. It is estimated the shift to loans will add an extra $2,000 a year onto their HECS debt.

“In total these cuts will add an extra $1.2 billion in student debt over the forward estimates”, Senator Rhiannon said.

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