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Senate must reject Turnbull’s attack on students: Greens

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 26 Jun 2018

The Turnbull Government is making university more expensive, less accessible and putting more pressure on graduates struggling to get a foothold on their futures.

“It says everything about this Government’s priorities when it would rather give a leg up to millionaires and mega-rich corporations instead of young Australians trying to get their start in life,” Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“Malcolm Turnbull and Simon Birmingham have already cut $2.2b out of Australia’s universities, including $251m from South Australia alone. They’ve cut university places, university funding, and now they’re increasing the bill students have to pay.

“Their Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability Bill 2018) is being debated in the Senate today. It’s the latest hit on young people from a government who puts tax cuts for millionaires ahead of education.

“The Liberal Government treats education as a privilege, not a right. It’s completely backwards. We need education to be universal, accessible and affordable more than ever. Instead, this government is locking up education behind an ever-higher paywall.

“HECS/HELP repayment thresholds are linked to wages by design. If the Government really believed its tax cuts to corporations and big banks were going to grow wages, it wouldn’t need to lower the wage threshold for students to start repaying their debts. This bill shows the big lie at the heart of the Government’s company tax con job. They know it won’t boost wages. They know it’ll just boost share buybacks and board bonuses.

“The Senate crossbench should see this Bill for what it really is: a shameless attack on young people, working hard to get a start in life. The Greens will be rejecting this Bill today and urge the crossbench to do the same.”

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