The Senate Inquiry hearing into higher education in Brisbane today has heard evidence that the Abbott Government’s planned university loan interest hikes could stop mature-aged students in regional areas from studying.
“The Abbott Government’s uni attacks, which the Greens will do all we can to block in the Senate, are designed to hit those struggling financially the hardest,” Australian Greens Senator for Queensland Larissa Waters said.
“We’ve heard evidence at the inquiry today from the Regional Universities Network that the Abbott Government’s planned uni loan interest hikes could put study out of reach for many mature aged students, especially those with families.
“For nurses trying to become registered through further study or teachers’ aids looking to become qualified, the Abbott Government’s uni interest hikes could mean they simply can’t afford to progress their careers.
“Many mature-aged students with families have all of the Abbott Government’s other budget cuts to think about when trying to make ends meet.
“Female students would be especially disadvantaged by the Abbott Government’s uni attacks, as they are more likely to take time off to have children, while the increased interest on their uni loans would continue to mount.
“The Greens are proud to be standing with students, university staff and the community against Tony Abbott’s interest hikes on uni loans and his deregulation agenda that would lead to $100 000 degrees.
“Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne’s vision for tertiary education in Australia is elitist and would exclude everyday Australians from the opportunities that university study brings.
“Labor is all talk and no action when it comes to standing up for students. Labor teamed up with Tony Abbott in the Senate last week to cut $400 million from student support so that students living in major cities, such as the Gold Coast, will not be able to apply for support to move to a capital city to study.
“The Greens believe education is a right not a privilege and will continue to stand up for that right in the Senate and the community,” Senator Waters said.