In the wake of another shocking interest rate rise which shows that the Albanese Government has no plan to drive down inflation and address the cost of living crisis so many Australians are facing, I raise serious concerns about the impact this will have on 3 million Australians with student debt.
Under Labor, anyone with a HECS debt was hit with a 7.1% increase in their student loan in June this year. Last year the increase was 3.9 per cent – next year there is another expected increase of around 6 per cent.
A 16 per cent increase in student loans over 3 years – and Labor and Education Minister Mr Clare are tone-deaf to the cost of living burden this is imposing on millions of Australians.
Along with other senators and members, I raised serious concerns about the antiquated HECS repayment system which is not accounting for loan repayments in real time, adding to student debt.
Mr Clare promised to review this system – but instead he has buried it. When I sought details about this review in senate estimates, the minister refused to answer the question – and I delighted that the senate has now order the production of this documents by this Friday.
To make matters worse, the government has misled student teachers who were promised scholarships of up to $40,000 if they chose to enrol in a teaching course, and become a teacher, an important way to address the acute teacher shortages across this country.
Under the cover of darkness with the minister overseas, he announced this $52 million scholarship program – but excluded non-government schools and the one third of Australian teachers who chose to work in an independent and catholic school.
This is discriminatory and imposes a massive cost of living burden on those who choose to work in the non-government sector. Labor is missing in action on cost of living relief for university students. It’s not good enough.