The Government has today confirmed it will support key crossbench amendments calling for a five year interest rate pause on HECS for new mums and dads and retaining the interest rate at CPI (not at the Government bond rate).
Chief Executive of Universities Australia Belinda Robinson praised Senator Madigan and Senator Day for their constructive dealings with the Government and urged other crossbench Senators to work towards a new, fairer package.
“The elements that both Senator Madigan and Senator Day have put forward are very consistent with what Universities Australia considers to be a fair and reasonable compromise,” Ms Robinson said.
“Our message to all Senators this week is not to defer decisions and ignore the unique opportunity they have to shape a new, fairer higher education package this year.
“Delaying taking action, or rejecting the package outright, is not the answer and risks condemning Australia’s higher education system to inevitable decline.
“It is not possible for universities to continue to deliver the quality that students and parents expect under a system that remains both financially unsustainable and uncertain.
“Senators this week have the opportunity to shape a new, fairer higher education package and end the uncertainty and anxiety felt by students and their families who have no idea what will happen in 2016.
“With key changes, such as those announced today, the Senate can design a package that strengthens our universities while keeping it fair for students, parents and taxpayers.”
But Ms Robinson urged the Senators to back other key elements that Universities Australia has proposed for a fair compromise.
“Universities Australia calls for reducing the magnitude of the Government’s proposed 20 per cent cut in per student funding which puts upward pressure on fees and a $500 million structural adjustment package to ensure regional remote and disadvantaged students don’t get left behind,” she said.
“By taking action this year and shaping a fairer higher education package, Senators can negotiate a compromise to benefit all Australians,” Ms Robinson said.