Abbott and Nikolic cut millions from University of Tasmania

Shadow Assistant Minister for Higher Education Amanda Rishworth MP will join Senator Helen Polley in Launceston today to demand the Abbott Government scrap plans to cut $113 million from the University of Tasmania as part of its $5.8 billion cut to higher education.
Ms Rishworth and Senator Polley will meet with University of Tasmania (UTAS) students and staff to listen to their concerns about the Abbot Government’s unfair higher education changes, which will burden past, present and future university students with a debt sentence.
Ms Rishworth said UTAS is set to lose a massive $113 million in funding over four years because of the Abbott Government’s savage cuts, and it will be students who foot the bill when the university is forced to increase the cost of degrees.
“Students and staff of UTAS are upset and angry about the prospect of degrees costing over $100,000 and students facing real interest rates on their HECS/HELP debt,” Ms Rishworth said.
“The Abbott Government’s plans to deregulate university fees and make savage cuts to university funding will hurt all students.
“A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence,” Ms Rishworth said.
Senator Polley said Tony Abbott has broken his promise not to cut education funding, and students in Tasmania will be forced to pay more as a result.
“Soaring university fees and huge debts will prevent many students from being able to afford to go to university, and those who do make it to university will be burdened with debt that will take decades to pay off,” Senator Polley said.
“It will be a disaster for Tasmania if these cruel changes prevent our bright and aspiring students from going to university because they fear being saddled with lifelong student debt.

“This is not what the Australian people voted for. Tony Abbott and Andrew
Nikolic misled the people of Bass with their broken promises,” Senator Polley said.
Ms Rishworth and Senator Polley will be at UTAS today to let students and staff know that Labor stands with them in fighting against these unfair changes.
Labor’s petition to fight the Abbott Government’s radical and short-sighted changes is available at
The Abbott Government’s changes to higher education include:
  • Cutting $5.8 billion from universities, including slashing funding for undergraduate places by up to 37 per cent;
  • Deregulating fee levels, allowing universities to charge what they like so students may face degrees costing over $100,000;
  • Charging up to $3,900 per year for Higher Research Degrees, such as a PhD and Masters programs; and
  • Introducing a compounding real interest rate for all HECS/HELP debts – both future and existing. HECS/HELP debts will now be indexed by the 10-year government bond rate, capped at 6 per cent, rather than the consumer price index (CPI).
 Source: NTEU Briefing Paper Higher Education Changes 2014-15 Federal Budget