The Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP has announced Labor’s plans to abolish Malcolm Turnbull’s unfair cap on student university places. This means around 1100 more Bendigo locals will be on their way to university if Labor is elected to Government at the next Federal Election.

The Liberal Government effectively capped the number of student places when Mr Turnbull cut $2.2 billion from universities last December.

“The limit on places hits regional universities and prospective students the hardest. Labor doesn’t think that’s fair, so we will abolish the cap,” said Ms Chesters.

Modelling by the Mitchell Institute shows that almost 200,000 more Australians will benefit from Labor’s new plan over 12 years.

When last in Government, Labor uncapped student places back in 2008, which by 2016 had seen an extra 917 Bendigo students get the opportunity of a university education. Many of these students were the first in their family to attend university.

The university sector, including Universities Australia, Innovative Research Universities, the Group of Eight, Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University have all welcomed Labor’s plan to reverse the current freeze in university funding and to restore the demand-driven system.

In a recent public statement La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the move would be a step change for regional Australians, who are currently only half as likely to obtain a university degree compared to their metropolitan residents.

Because Labor uncapped uni places, by 2016:
• the number of students from poorer backgrounds was up by 55 per cent;
• Indigenous student numbers had jumped by 89 per cent;
• enrolments by students with a disability had more than doubled; and
• enrolments by students from country areas had grown by 48 per cent.

“Labor understands how vital access to higher education in Central Victoria is and the critical role regional universities play in regards to regional development.

“Malcolm Turnbull says he can’t find the money to properly fund unis. But he can find $80 billion to give away to big business and the banks. His priorities are all wrong,” Ms Chesters said.