Joint Media Release

Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government Julie Collins said the Regional Universities Network (RUN) submission to the Senate Committee on the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill makes it clear that these changes are just another attack by the Abbott Government on regional Australia.

The Chair of RUN, Professor Peter Lee said “We strongly oppose a reduction in Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding as proposed under the HERRA Bill because, if these cuts proceed without modification, there will be a substantial negative impact on regional universities’ teaching, research and community engagement activities”.

The Abbott Government has already taken the knife to vital regional funding and is now attempting to increase the divide between the city and the bush.

Going to university should depend on your ability, hard work and qualifications, not your parent’s bank account.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Joel Fitzgibbon said “make no mistake, the Government’s plan for our universities will hit regional universities hardest.  It will hurt the aspirations of rural and regional students and their communities most and the RUN submission draws the Government’s attention to this fact”:

“In combination, a reduction in Government funding and real interest rate on loans will have a disproportionate impact on the regional and disadvantaged students who study at RUN universities, as well as the communities from which they come.

“It will be seen as unfair and is likely to exacerbate the divide between the city and rural and regional Australia by ignoring the real structural differences we have in this nation between metropolitan and regional higher education. We therefore advocate a change to the Government’s proposed real interest rate on student loans.”

The Chair of RUN, Professor Peter Lee, Media Release, 23 September 2014

Education is absolutely essential to opportunity, economic growth and the future of regional Australia – Tony Abbott’s broken promise on higher university fees will put all that at risk.

It is time the Abbott Government started listening to regional Australia and ruled out cuts that will hurt regional students and regional universities.

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