Shadow Minister for Education, Sarah Henderson, has hit out at the Albanese Government for failing to address escalating student debt at a time when so many Australians are suffering from Labor’s cost of living crisis.
“Today, some three million Australians will be hit with a crippling 7.1 per cent increase in their student loans. Fuelled by Labor’s high inflation, this is the highest HECS indexation rate in more than 30 years,” Senator Henderson said.
“The indexation hike, which is linked to CPI, will drive up the average HECS loan of $23,685 by $1,700. For the past decade, indexation averaged 2 per cent per year. After so many bad decisions and broken promises from this government, Education Minister Jason Clare is clearly tone deaf to the cost of living of crisis Australians are facing.”
“The Government should seriously examine what options can be taken to support young Australians pay down their debts, instead of denying it’s a problem.”
The Opposition is calling on Education Minister, Jason Clare, to cancel the government’s high risk Startup Year loans scheme which could cripple students with up to $23,600 of debt for full-fee paying university courses they currently can do for free.
“This policy is half-baked and a nonsense. The government is asking students to take out loans for courses they can do at no cost, such as those offered by University of Technology Sydney’s Startup Hub. Jason Clare’s reckless student debt trap must be stopped,” Senator Henderson said.
“After the government failed to heed major concerns from the university sector, this loans scheme is now such a mess that the government hasn’t released guidelines for courses which are meant to start from 1 July.”
As raised in Senate Estimates, the Opposition is also calling for urgent action over the unjust indexing of student loans which have been paid off, due to the ATO’s failure to account for loan repayments in real time.
“This practice is as bad as a bank charging interest on mortgages which customers have already paid off. The Government must look at the reforms required to fix this antiquated tax payments system.”
“As we will be raising in Senate Estimates today and tomorrow, the Albanese Government has delivered cuts to numerous education programs whilst failing to adequately address plummeting school standards, a growing crisis in teacher training and retention and a school curriculum which is not delivering for students,” Senator Henderson said.
“Rather than review after review, it is time the Albanese Government started delivering solutions for parents, teachers and students,” Senator Henderson concluded.