The National Tertiary Education Union released this statement on November 21.
The Minister for Education Christopher Pyne today introduced the Higher Education Support Amendment (Savings and Other Measures) Bill 2013 into parliament, a bill which in the minister’s own words will be damaging to the university sector.
The bill slashes more than $900 million from university grants over the next four years and will cost students almost $300 million in lost discounts for early repayment of their HECS debts.
National Tertiary Education Union president, Jeannie Rea, said: “I find it extraordinary that the minister would introduce legislation into parliament which he openly acknowledges, in his second reading speech, will be damaging to our universities and their students.
“It is simply not good enough for the minister to blame the previous government for the cuts. By proceeding with them he is giving them his full support and endorsement.
“This undermines my understanding of ministerial responsibility, if ministers blithely get away with policies which they know will damage institutions for which they have responsibility.
The NTEU is calling on all members of parliament who care about our universities to oppose the proposed bill.
“Labor members have cause to be especially angry, because the minister has refused to guarantee the increased funding for school improvement which the university cuts were originally intended to help fund,” Rea added.