Universities are lining up to oppose the Turnbull government's cuts and fee hikes - Terri Butler MP, Labor for Griffith

Universities are lining up to oppose the Turnbull government's cuts and fee hikes

The Turnbull government’s university funding cuts, fee hikes and demands that poorer people pay to help fund the higher education system have been under fire this week.

This week Vice-Chancellors including Prof Andrew Vann from CSU, Prof Greg Craven from the ACU, and Prof Michael Spence from the University of Sydney have been critical of the Turnbull government’s cuts to higher education funding.

Prof Vann said the cuts and fee hikes don’t pass the pub testand would affect regional students. 

Prof Spence described the reduction in the income threshold, at which students commence making payments, as a tax. 

And Prof Craven described the changes as a wrecking ball that would demolish one of the best university systems in the world.

These strong criticisms come as the Turnbull government wants to make students pay more, for less. 

Students will cop fee hikes, meaning they’ll have bigger debts. 

At the same time, the government’s own budget papers reveal a $3.8 billion cut to  higher education funding over the forward estimates.

And the government’s reduction in the income threshold for student payments will hit low-income households hard.

Last week Peter Martin cited David Plunkett as saying that the combined effect of the reduction in the student payment threshold and the Turnbull government’s higher Medicare levy, would mean, for some people, “effective marginal tax rates north of 97 per cent as they attempt to lift their incomes beyond $37,000. The high rates persist, peaking at 99.2 per cent, almost all the way up to $50,000.”

The Turnbull government’s moves to increase household debt by hiking up student fees, reduce funding available to universities, and make poorer households pay, are reckless. They are bad for students and graduates, and they are bad for the economy as the whole.

Now is the time to invest in education, not cut funding to it while loading up households with more debt.


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