Students and parents in the Illawarra will be hit with more than $500 million in education cuts because of the Abbott Government’s unfair Budget, Shadow Assistant Minister for Education, Amanda Rishworth, said today.
Amanda Rishworth and other members of the panel at today’s Education Counts: Everyone’s Priority forum in the Illawarra detailed firsthand how Tony Abbott’s savage Budget cuts to education would affect local communities.
Along with Local MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones and other guest speakers from United Voice, the NSW Teachers Federation, the Independent Education Union and the National Tertiary Education Union, attendees at the forum heard firsthand just what was in store for the Illawarra under the radical Abbott-Pyne education agenda.
“Students around the Illawarra are upset and angry about the prospect of degrees costing over $100,000 and students facing real interest rates on their HECS/HELP debt,” Amanda Rishworth said.
“The Abbott Government’s plans to deregulate university fees and make savage cuts to university funding will hurt all students.
“Labor believes that a university degree shouldn’t mean a debt sentence – but that’s exactly what Tony Abbott’s changes will do.
“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,” Ms Rishworth said.
“Here in the Illawarra we are facing a massive $95.8 million cut to the University of Wollongong, $392 million in cuts to our local schools, $16 million worth of Schoolkids Bonus payments are under threat – this totals over $500 million,” Sharon Bird said.
“This figure doesn’t even include the Abbott Government’s cuts to the child care benefit and family day care, vocational education, the threat to preschool and kindergarten funding or the NSW Liberal Government’s cuts to TAFE.”
“To transform the local economy we have to invest in education. Tragically the Abbott Government is doing the opposite,” Stephen Jones said.
“We have a great University, great schools and TAFEs and Labor will fight to ensure that our education system here in the Illawarra is funded properly.”
MONDAY, 18 AUGUST 2014