“The Senate Committee report is a solid step in the right direction for making the package fairer for students and families, but it can go even further”, said Chief Executive of Universities Australia, Belinda Robinson.
The Report’s recommendations include a structural assistance package and a reconsideration of the proposed HELP arrangements, which are in line with what Universities Australia has been advocating.
Ms Robinson said while these recommendations were welcome, further changes to the package were needed.
“Universities Australia calls on Senators to take further action to ensure fairness is at the core of the package by reducing the magnitude of the proposed 20 per cent cut in university funding for students, relieving upward pressure on fees.
“With changes, the Senate can make sure the legislation is fair for students, fair for families and fair for taxpayers”, she said.
The Government’s bill will need the support of crossbench senators to be passed.
“Senators have a unique opportunity to shape the higher education package to provide certainty and stability for the sector in the long term, so that it can continue to contribute to the economy and society.
“Senators have the chance to create a legacy that strengthens the ability of universities to preserve a quality education while keeping the system fair for all.
“We have a problem with sustainable funding for Australian universities that must be addressed.
“To oppose the legislation in its entirety is not a solution, it is simply kicking the can down the road to the next generation and risking the quality and sustainability of our higher education and research system,” Ms Robinson concluded.