Greens Senator and higher education spokesperson Lee Rhiannon today said her party would oppose the push by Professor Fred Hilmer to give universities the power to set course fees.
"Professor Hilmer's short-sighted push to deregulate university fees would close the gates of our universities for many people and be a step backwards for national productivity" said Senator Rhiannon.
"It is worrying that Professor Hilmer, as the head of the Group of Eight, sees that the solution to higher education funding shortfall is to push more costs onto undergraduate students.
"The UK experience of raising tuition fees last year has seen university applications from UK students fall by 8.7%, according to the admissions service. By comparison, in Scotland where there are no fees for students, admissions fell by only 1.5%.
"If Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans walked the government's talk on the importance of education and productivity in Australia, he would be pushing for a greater investment in tertiary education.
"The US government invests more public money as a share of gross domestic product into higher education than the Australian government does, about 1 per cent of GDP compared with Australia's 0.7 per cent of GDP.
"The Labor government are cruelling the chances of their own higher education reforms being successful by not increasing base funding per student," said Senator Rhiannon.