Liberals Still In Hiding – From $100,000 Degrees

IMG_3436a.jpgSharon Bird and Stephen Jones today visited the University of Wollongong to talk about Malcolm Turnbull’s plans for $100,000 degrees.

Nothing can hide the Liberals’ ideological pursuit for deregulation which is written into the budget papers and is Malcom Turnbull’s policy.


“I think it is fair for students to make a greater contribution.”

Malcolm Turnbull, Sunrise, Channel Seven, 4 May 2016

Sharon Bird said it was no wonder the Liberals had trouble finding a candidate to run in Cunningham or Whitlam when their policies on schools, vocational education and higher education were so damaging for young people and toxic in the community.

“We know that under Labor the University of Wollongong will be $102 million better off under Labor. 

“Our University is world-class – while the Liberals have ignored the University, Labor invested nearly $135 million into the construction of four new facilities at the University of Wollongong including the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre ($25.1 million), the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials ($42.8 million), the SMART facility ($35 million) and the Early Start Facility ($31 million).

Stephen Jones said that universities like UoW were critical part of the regional economy.

“UoW is making innovative investments in advanced manufacturing and this is essential to the Illawarra’s challenging economic transition.  The Coalition’s plans to cut university funding and shift the burden to students will be devastating for the local area.

“The Liberals want cut $102 million from the UoW Budget and force students to make up the difference with degrees costing up to $100,000.

“Labor understands that all students should have access to higher education, not just those from high income families.

The figures in the Budget make it clear that the Liberals plan to:

  • Cut university funding by 20 per cent;

  • Slug students with $100,000 degrees;

  • Create a two-tiered university system that will see students paying more;

  • Americanise higher education at taxpayer expense;

  • Lower the HECS HELP repayment threshold which will see students repaying their debt well before they can afford to do so; and

  • Deny Australians access to financial support to go to university if they are not in the workforce or retired.  

This Budget makes it very clear that the Abbott-Turnbull Liberals are hell-bent on making it harder for Australian battlers to get the opportunity of a university education. 

The difference between Labor and Liberal could not be starker - we'll put people first, while the 2016 Budget has shown Mr Turnbull and the Liberals will look after high-income earners and see Australian students pay more.


Labor's positive plan will:

  1. Introduce a new Student Funding Guarantee, which will deliver $2,500 more per student than the Liberals, and remove the need for higher fees and a lifetime of debt.

  2. Increase the number of students completing their study by 20,000 graduates a year from 2020.

  3. Invest $31 million in Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency to boost the quality of teaching and resources in our universities.

  4. Establish an independent Higher Education Productivity and Performance Commission to ensure graduates meet the needs of the future economy.

  5. Offer a Startup Year at university to young Australians looking to start their own enterprise.

  6. Boost the number of young Australians taking up STEM courses at university as well as offering 25,000 Teach STEM Scholarships and upskilling 25,000 teachers.

  7. Introduce a Higher Education Access and Growth Strategy to improve outcomes for low income students, students from rural and regional areas, Indigenous students and first generation migrants, students with disabilities and other disadvantage students.

  8. Deliver more information for parents and students so they can make good decisions about university.