MEDIA RELEASE - D-DAY LOOMS FOR UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE

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The Senate is set to consider the Turnbull Government’s plan to cut $2.8 billion from universities today which could see the University of Newcastle lose more than $100 million over the next decade.

 

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the Government’s higher education legislation is listed for debate this afternoon, with the outcome depending on the votes of crossbench Senators.

The Senate is set to consider the Turnbull Government’s plan to cut $2.8 billion from universities today which could see the University of Newcastle lose more than $100 million over the next decade.

 

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the Government’s higher education legislation is listed for debate this afternoon, with the outcome depending on the votes of crossbench Senators.

 

“If this legislation passes, the University of Newcastle will have its budget slashed;  students will have to pay between $2,500 and $3,900 more for degrees; and the repayment threshold for HECS will drop dramatically to $42,000,” Ms Claydon said.  

 

“Labor has stood strong against this senseless plan since day one, so the Government will need to get the support it needs from crossbench Senators.”

 

Ms Claydon said she’s especially concerned about the planned changes to enabling programs, which play a critical role in helping disadvantaged people in the Newcastle-Hunter Region to get into University.

 

“The Government’s plan to levy fees of up to $3,200, cap places and open up enabling courses to tender by private providers is nothing short of reckless,” Ms Claydon said.

 

“If it weren’t for these enabling programs, many thousands of young people from the Newcastle-Hunter region would never have gone to university.

 

“This is backed by a recent survey which found a fee would have prevented more than three-quarters of students currently enrolled in enabling programs at the University of Newcastle from taking up these courses.

 

“Not only that, but not a single survey respondent said they would have enrolled in an enabling course if they had had to take out a HECS-HELP Loan of more than $3,000.

 

“If Australia is to thrive in the global knowledge economy the last thing we want to do is discourage some of our brightest young minds from going to university.”

 

Ms Claydon said the successful passage of the Bill would be devastating for the university, students and the local economy.  

 

“The University of Newcastle isn’t just the lead educator in our region – it also plays a critical role in driving the economic and social transformation,” Ms Claydon said.

 

“If we want to build a strong, diverse local economy the last thing we should do is slash funding for the University of Newcastle.

 

“The fact that Mr Turnbull is gutting universities to help fund his $65 billion tax cuts for big business speaks volumes about his twisted priorities.”

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle