By Matthew McGowan. Polling commissioned by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) shows that 70% of Australians oppose university fee increases for students and that higher education reforms are one of the most unpopular measures in the budget. The figures confirm that the community are angry about the broken election commitment not to alter university funding arrangements, as well as policies that would see students from poorer backgrounds locked out of quality education.
“These are budget measures that Christopher Pyne and the Government kept secret before the election for a reason,” said Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President.
“On top of a 20% cut in government funding to universities, students will face debts of over $100,000 and repayments well into their 40s and 50s. Women and poorer students will be the most affected by these changes. 55% of Australians disagreed with the Government’s move to a more “Americanised” system.
“Australians do not want an Americanised system. They want to protect the current system that trains students for high skilled jobs, promotes research and critical thinking, and one that is equal and accessible,” Rea said. The poll showed that vast majorities of Australians think savings would be better targeted at high income earners, through implementing a mining tax or by closing superannuation tax loopholes for the wealthy.
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