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Labor backs Coalition student payment cuts - after signing pledge to block changes

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 22 Sep 2014

Responding to reports that Labor will support cuts to student payments in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"It is disturbing that Labor has reaffirmed their support for the Coalition's student payment cuts, only weeks after signing a pledge to block changes to higher education.

"On August 11, Labor leader Bill Shorten signed a public pledge which said "I, Bill Shorten, pledge that the ALP will block proposed changes to higher education in the senate,..."

"Yet today reports indicate Labor will support freezing the indexation of student payments, student income bank limits and income and asset test thresholds until 2018, which effectively leaves less money in the pocket of students.

"Labor will also support removing relocation scholarships for students whose parents live in a major city. Affected low SES students who choose to attend a course offered only in another city or campus will now be further disadvantaged in accessing university education.

"For some students this scholarship payment will make the difference between gaining a higher education in an area of their choosing or not.

"Labor education spokesperson Senator Kim Carr and Labor leader Bill Shorten, need to explain why they signed a public pledge promising to block the Coalition's changes, when in reality this is not what they are doing.

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