The Australian Greens say fresh data released by the Australian Taxation Office (SMH: http://bit.ly/1EWH5gQ) shows student debt is increasing while wage growth remains flat, resulting in students graduating with greater debt and taking longer to pay it off.
"Newly release ATO data shows that student debt more than doubled from $12 billion in 2005-06 to $29 billion in 2012-13," Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
"The number of graduates with a student debt of more than $40 000 doubled to more than 100 000 within a two year period between 2010-11 and 2012-13.
"While student debt is continuing to increase, the number of graduates earning enough income to repay their debt is actually decreasing as income growth remains flat.
"In the lead up to this year's budget the Greens are calling on the Abbott government to rule out any further plans to increase student fees as well as any punitive measures designed to force students on lower incomes to repay their debt faster.
"The Greens want to see Australia move towards free higher education as a sound investment in our economic future and cultural and social wellbeing," Senator Rhiannon said.
Contact: Brami Jegan 0487 350 880