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Only "constructive" action Pyne could take on higher education bill is to start again

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 27 Aug 2014

The Greens say Christopher Pyne's higher education plan does nothing more than slam the door on opportunity for millions of Australians.

"The Greens will not support Mr Pyne's legislative package that massively cuts government funding to higher education, adds to the financial burden students are under and strips away opportunities," Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Rhiannon said.

"I met with Minister Christopher Pyne, at his invitation, to discuss his higher education plans. While my talks with Mr Pyne were cordial, it is clear our respective visions for higher education are fundamentally divergent.

"The Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill is designed primarily implement $5 billion of budget cuts by reducing funding to universities and shifting more debt onto students.

"The only ‘constructive' action the Minister could take would be to shelve his cuts and allow the Parliament to kick start a debate on how to build up public higher education rather than tearing it down.

"I have written to cross benches proposing that debate and a vote on the Bill be prioritised as soon as it is put before the Senate.

"Australia needs higher education reform committed to strengthening the public university system, accessibility and affordability," Senator Rhiannon said.

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