Budget changes to hurt regional universities most

Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, agrees with the Regional Universities Network’s statement that proposed changes to universities will hurt regional universities and students hardest.

The Chair of RUN, Professor Peter Lee said in a submission to the Senate Committee on the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill - “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”.

Ms Chesters said she agreed with RUN and applauded them for speaking up.

“The Liberal 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.

“The Liberal Government’s plan for our universities will hit regional universities like our local Bendigo La Trobe University the hardest 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 our regional – Tony Abbott’s broken promise on higher university fees will put all that at risk,” Ms Chesters said.

“It is time the Liberal Government started listening to central Victorians and ruled out cuts that will hurt Bendigo students and La Trobe University Bendigo.”