Students all over Australia are set to face higher university fees from January 2018, as part of the the Liberal Government’s 2017 Budget.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham unveiled the changes on the 1st of May, 2016, which includes a fee increase of 1.8% next year, which will rise to a total of 7.5% by 2021.
As well as this, under the Liberal Government’s plan, the HECS debt repayment threshold will be lowered, meaning students will have to start repaying their loans when they begin to earn above $42,000 a year, previously at around $55,000.
University’s also face a 2.5 per cent cut to their teaching payments in 2018 and 2019.
University of Sydney vice-chancellor Dr Michael Spence said the changes could threaten the “innovation economy” the Government has been wanting to establish. He stated that, “the combination of the package in relation to student loans and these cuts means that students will be paying more and the universities getting less.”
Effectively, these changes will mean that students will have more debt and they’ll have to pay it back when many are trying to start their career, buy a home or start a family. This isn’t a fair deal to the students of Australia and in the electorate of Cannington.
The president of the National Union of Students, Sophie Johnston, said there was “no silver lining” to the Government’s proposal. “I think a lot of students are angry, they’re frustrated, they feel incredibly disrespected by some of the language that’s being used… I can absolutely assure the Government that we will be fighting back and there will be thousands and thousands of people alongside us.”
Universities and students have already contributed to Budget repair, around $3.9 billion in net savings between 2011–12 and 2016–17. Why does this Liberal Government insist on making the Youth of Australia foot the bill for their increasing debt? Malcolm Turnbull and 7 of his ministers supporting the cuts, including George Brandis and Fiona Nash, got their university education completely free, and yet they are still happy to further disadvantage current students through further University fee increases.