Senator Matt Canavan has ridiculed Labor’s “scare campaign” on university fees.
“In the Coalition, we want more students to take part in higher education,” he said today.
“That’s the exact opposite to Bill Shorten and Labor: they are trying to scare away students by exaggerating the potential effect of higher education reforms on fees.”
Speaking from Karumba during a tour of the Gulf region of north-west Queensland, Senator Canavan said the Government’s higher education changes deliver greater fairness to all students and taxpayers, and provide great opportunities for rural and regional students in particular.
“At the moment, the average student pays around 40% of the cost and taxpayers pick up the rest. Under the changes, students will pay around half and taxpayers the other half. On average, someone with a university degree will earn about $1 million more in their working life than someone without a degree, so that seems like a fair deal.
“The changes will allow universities to decide what they should charge, like other businesses. At the same time, the Government will be there supporting students with income-contingent loans – that is, loans that don’t have to be repaid until ex-students are earning a good income.
“No student needs to pay a cent upfront, and no-one needs to repay anything till they are earning over $50,000 a year. So higher education is guaranteed to be affordable and accessible.
“There is also expansion of support for 80,000 additional students for diploma courses and in non-university higher education institutions and that’s crucial to creating opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Senator Canavan said Bill Shorten had no credibility in talking about university fees.
“Given that Labor stripped over $2 billion out of university funding in 2013, they have no credibility talking about how higher education should be funded. The bottom line is we want to see more students gaining the benefits of higher education and they are trying to scare students away.”