Lee’s motion calling on the government to immediately reverse the nearly $6 billion cut from public higher education and commit to a well funded and accessible public higher education system was passed by the Senate.
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:44): by leave—I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that in its first budget the Abbott Coalition Government is cutting $5.8 billion from public higher education, including:
(i) $3.2 billion from changes to the HECS-HELP repayment threshold and increased interest rates for HECS-HELP debt,
(ii) $1.1 billion from cuts to Commonwealth funding for course fees,
(iii) $504 million from removing the grandfathering provisions included in the conversion of Student Start-Up Scholarships into loans,
(iv) $290 million from cutting funding to Relocation Scholarships,
(v) $204 million from decreasing indexation rates for grants,
(vi) $170 million from research training cuts,
(vii) $121 million from cutting higher education reward funding,
(viii) $87.7 million from removing the HECS-HELP discount for priority courses redundant,
(ix) $75 million ARC funding cuts,
(x) $51 million from cuts to Access and Participation Grants, and
(xi) $31million from cuts to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standard Agency;
(b) acknowledges the crucial role played by public higher education in providing millions of Australians with skills that benefit the broader community; and
(c) calls on the Government to immediately reverse these budget cuts and commit to a well funded and accessible public higher education system.
Senator RYAN (Victoria—Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education) (17:44): I seek leave to make a short statement.
Leave is granted for one minute.
Senator RYAN: Thank you. This budget shows higher education funding increasing by $5.7 billion over four years, as higher education reforms expand opportunities for students and ensure Australia is not left behind in global competition. For the first time, the Australian government will support all Australian students studying for higher education diplomas, advanced diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor degrees. Over 80,000 additional students will benefit. A more flexible higher education system will equip Australians for the jobs of the new economy. As universities and colleges compete for students, students win and our universities will be better able to compete with the best in the world. We can achieve the best higher education system in the world, and the coalition government is helping deliver it.
The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion moved by Senator Rhiannon be agreed to.
Senate Rhiannon’s motion passed by the Senate 35 votes to 28