Tony Abbott wants to bring back caps on places for students, re-introduce full up-front fees and make university accessible to only those who can pay, Minister for Education, Simon Crean, and Member for Bennelong, Maxine McKew, said today.
Simon Crean and Maxine McKew were speaking at Diversity Week at Macquarie University in Sydney, a research-driven, interdisciplinary tertiary education institution with a strong international presence.
“Macquarie University has grown its enrolments by more than 2,100 places above its original targets in 2010, and we are providing additional funding of $8.2 million to support this,” Simon Crean said.
“The Gillard Labor Government will be investing $36 billion in university teaching and learning in Australia, and more than $9.6 billion in research up to 2012.
“This compares with $27.9 billion for teaching and learning, and around $5.8 billion for research, over the last four years of the former Coalition Government.
“We are abolishing full fee degrees for undergraduates at public universities, and introducing legislation to allow universities to charge for student services and amenities, the same legislation that was blocked last year in the Senate.
“The Gillard Labor Government is taking these steps because we believe that a world-class education should be affordable and accessible to all Australians.
“In contrast, Tony Abbott was part of the former Coalition Government that spent a decade shifting the cost of education back on to students and making higher education more unaffordable than ever.
“Through its total neglect of Australia’s education system, the former Coalition Government failed to ensure Australia’s future productivity and economic prosperity.”
“The Gillard Labor Government has invested a record over $82 million into Macquarie University including $40 million into the Hearing Hub, a cutting-edge facility for developing hearing technologies and services,” Maxine McKew said.
“We have also invested $24.8 million for capital works at Macquarie University, to revitalise learning environments and infrastructure after a decade of neglect from the former Coalition Government.
“I am proud that the Gillard Labor Government has supported Macquarie University and its students to reach even greater heights of academic achievement.
“But under Tony Abbott, the future of higher education in northern Sydney remains in doubt – he simply doesn’t understand the importance of education to the future of this country,” Maxine McKew said.