ALP does its own backflip with twist

NTEU News    |     3 December 2013

Now opposed to cuts to university funding announced in April

Backflip with twistIn the lead up to this year’s election, one commentator noted that “if the Coalition in government carries through with the ALP’s cuts [to higher education spending] foreshadowed in the Budget, they may put a future ALP opposition in a difficult position – forcing it to decide whether to vote against the policy change they proposed.”

Well, maybe not so difficult a position after all.  The NTEU has congratulated the now Labor opposition on its decision today to oppose Christopher Pyne’s damaging funding cuts to Australian universities and their students. NTEU president Jeannie Rea says:

The higher education sector will be extremely pleased that Labor will not support changes to the higher education and social security legislation which would result in universities losing on average $600 per student in government funding and the abolition of student start-up scholarships which would result in our most disadvantaged students losing $2,050 per year,.

The NTEU hasn’t entirely ignored the provenance of these cuts

While Minister Pyne will try to blame these cuts on Labor, he needs to accept full responsibility, especially given the fiasco he has created in relation to funding for school improvement.

There is a twist to this tale.  The Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP), aimed at assisting universities to improve access to undergraduate courses for people from low SES backgrounds, expires at the end of this year.  The former government allocated new funding of nearly $600 million over four years, to the end of 2017, subject to passage of legislation containing the efficiency dividend.

Multi-billion dollar university budget hit the “biggest since 1990s”
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