Today Lisa Chesters MP will meet with La Trobe University students to call on the Senate to block the Higher Education Amendment Bill that will see massive cuts to University funding and increased student fees.
The Senate is sitting this week and one of the Bills that could be considered is the Higher Education Amendment Bill.
“I stand with Bendigo La Trobe University students to reject the Turnbull Liberal Government’s outrageous funding cuts, increases to student fees and plans to make students pay back bigger debt, sooner.
“These funding cuts if passed by the Senate will but at risk the Bendigo La Trobe campus. These funding cuts could force the closure of small regional campuses.
“It is outrageous that we've got a Federal Liberal Government that's prepared to cut $533 million from Victorian universities and $68 million from La Trobe University alone over the next four years.
“The Liberals’ cuts will hit regional unis and regional towns particularly hard. Universities are warning that regional campuses could close. That would rob country students of the opportunity to go to uni close to home. And it could have a devastating impact on regional economies where unis are big employers and its students and staff are important customers for local businesses.
“The cost of a 4 year degree will increase by up to $3600 and HELP loan repayments will start being deducted once your wage hits $42,000 – over $13,000 less than the current indexed threshold.
“These changes will have a massive impact to regional universities like Bendigo La Trobe. Almost 80% of the students studying at the La Trobe Bendigo campus are from regional areas and almost 60% are the first in their families to study at university.
“The Liberals have their priorities all wrong and it demonstrates how they only care about metro universities and students.
In addition, Federal government funding to universities will be cut by 2.5% in 2018 and 2019. This has the potential to see staff losses, courses cut or less contact hours for students.
“We cannot afford any more jobs or courses to be cut at the Bendigo campus. Bendigo students have already had their contact hours significantly reduced and it’s not fair if they have vital face to face time cut any further.
“Over three quarters of regional university students already move to the metropolitan city campuses and if these cuts come into effect it will make it nearly impossible for regional students to access quality university education.
“I call on the Federal Government and their regional MPs to stand up for regional university campuses, staff and students and reject this plan. It will only hurt regional communities like Bendigo.”