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Innovative nation off Labor agenda as govt cuts higher education spending

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 23 Oct 2012

Federal Labor’s decision to further cut higher education funding points to a policy failure that will not only impact students and staff at our universities but will also undermine long term jobs-growth and productivity gains, Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

“These cuts to the higher education sector fly in the face of plans to make Australia an innovative nation”, Senator Rhiannon said.

“Long term planning for our future must have research and education as its foundation.  These cuts undermine opportunities to diversify the economy and ensure Australia is not over reliant on the resource sector.

“The Labor government has adopted an uncaring policy that pushes the burden of funding cuts onto staff and students.
“The latest round of cuts from the Mid Year Economic and Financial Outlook (MYEFO) has delivered $250 million less for students, $750 less in university funding and more than $550 million less for trade training and apprenticeships.

“I already hear from many university and TAFE staff that they have to work unpaid hours to get their job done. This latest round of cuts will make this situation worse.

“Student education suffers when staff are under-resourced.

“These cuts come hard on the heels of previous higher education cuts. Since the start of 2011 more than $1.3 billion in ‘savings’ has been taken off funding for universities and students, including cuts to the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and increasing HECS for matts and Science students. 

“Federal Labor have betrayed their own policies and are failing to heed the advice of their own inquiries into the future of higher education.

“Both the Base Funding Review and the Bradley Review recommended that investment in universities should be increased.

“The MYEFO under Labor is shaping up as an annual attack on higher education”, Senator Rhiannon said.

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