An open letter to Senators from Universities Australia

Universities Australia    |    24 November 2014

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With the higher education reform package up for debate in the Senate this week, Universities Australia has made a last pitch to Senators arguing the package should be passed with amendments to make it “fair”.  The National Tertiary Education Union has countered that amendments to make the package “fairer”  will not change the fundamental unfairness of the plan to deregulate university fees to compensate for the government cutting university funding While on the numbers as they stand,  it’s not looking a strong prospect for passage, a regional assistance package which guaranteed funding for the UTas campus at Burnie might just test Senator Lambie’s resolve to vote against all government legislation over the issue of Defence Force salaries.  That would be a monumental backflip given that is part of the cause of her departure from the PUP but these are strange times.  Similarly, erstwhile PUP fellow traveller Ricky Muir and former DLPer John Madigan might both  be swayed by a dollop of dollars for Fed Uni.  That would swing it.   

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Dear Senators,

As you are aware, without strong and sustainable universities, Australia risks being left behind.

Unfortunately, competing calls on constrained public finances have meant that per-student funding has decreased in real terms over a number of years.

It is now clear that a new approach to funding is needed to maintain the quality education students expect, but that approach needs to be fair.

This is where you, the Senators of Australia, have the chance to make a difference, a chance to champion a new higher education package that is fair for all: fair for students, families and taxpayers.

This is your chance to amend and pass a fair package that will leave a lasting legacy for our country.

This is why our universities are urging you to legislate the higher education reforms, with key changes to ensure fairness.

We are asking you to reduce the proposed 20% cut to university funding, to reduce the upward pressure on student fees.

Because that’s fair.

We are asking you to keep student loans indexed at CPI so our students are not burdened with unreasonable debt levels.

Because that’s fair.

We are asking you for an assistance package to make sure regional, remote and disadvantaged students don’t get left behind.

Because that’s fair.

Please seize the unique and privileged opportunity you have to shape a system that is fair for all.

That way you can ensure we have strong and vibrant universities driving a strong and vibrant country.

A country where we don’t get left behind.

A country where we Keep it Clever, but Keep it Fair.

Universities Australia,
Peak body representing Australia’s Universities

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