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HECS debt to be recovered from Aussies abroad

Commonwealth Media     |     7 May 2015

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 Australians who have moved overseas for more than six months will be required to pay back the same amount of their HECS debt as they would if they were residing in Australia from July 2017.

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BaggageIn a pre-budget announcement, minister for education and training Christopher Pyne says the Australian Government will legislate to require all Australian graduates living offshore to start making HECS payments based on their income in the 2016-17 tax year if they earn above the threshold of $AUD 53,000.

“Currently, because graduates living overseas don’t have to do an Australian tax return, there is no way to know if they are earning above the threshold that triggers HECS repayments and many get off scott-free.

“There is no good reason why someone working as a banker in London or New York and earning over the threshold shouldn’t pay back what they owe Australia.”

This change is expected to recoup more than $140 million over the next ten years. It will include repayment obligations from 1 July 2017 based on 2016-17 income.

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quote marks….a HECS-HELP loan repayment exemption has no place in the luggage of Australian graduates pursuing the overseas travel tradition.

                                  –      Universities Australia

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The government’s move will correct a long overdue anomaly in the repayment obligations of Australian graduates according to Universities Australia chief Belinda Robinson :

This is a welcome move by the Government in improving the fairness and sustainability of the student loans scheme.

Such a system for recovering student loans exists in the UK and New Zealand, so there is no obvious reason why obliging Australian graduates living overseas to repay their HELP debt shouldn’t be adopted in Australia.

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