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JULIE COLLINS MP

SHADOW MINISTER REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND LOCAL


GOVERNMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES
MEMBER FOR FRANKLIN

JOEL FITZGIBBON MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AFFAIRS
SPOKESPERSON FOR COUNTRY CAUCUS
MEMBER FOR HUNTER

MEDIA RELEASE

MAKE NO MISTAKE, THE GOVERNMENTS PLAN FOR OUR UNIVERSITIES
WILL HIT REGIONAL UNIVERSITIES HARDEST

Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government Julie Collins said
the Regional Universities Network (RUN) submission to the Senate Committee on the
Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill makes it clear that these
changes are just another attack by the Abbott Government on regional Australia.

The Chair of RUN, Professor Peter Lee said We strongly oppose a reduction in
Commonwealth Grant Scheme funding as proposed under the HERRA Bill because, if
these cuts proceed without modification, there will be a substantial negative impact
on regional universities teaching, research and community engagement activities.

The Abbott Government has already taken the knife to vital regional funding and is
now attempting to increase the divide between the city and the bush.

Going to university should depend on your ability, hard work and qualifications, not
your parents bank account.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Rural Affairs Joel Fitzgibbon said make no
mistake, the Governments plan for our universities will hit regional universities
hardest. It will hurt the aspirations of rural and regional students and their
communities most and the RUN submission draws the Governments attention to this
fact:

In combination, a reduction in Government funding and real interest rate
on loans will have a disproportionate impact on the regional and
disadvantaged students who study at RUN universities, as well as the
communities from which they come.

It will be seen as unfair and is likely to exacerbate the divide between
the city and rural and regional Australia by ignoring the real structural
differences we have in this nation between metropolitan and regional
higher education. We therefore advocate a change to the Governments
proposed real interest rate on student loans.

The Chair of RUN, Professor Peter Lee, Media Release, 23 September 2014

Education is absolutely essential to opportunity, economic growth and the future of
regional Australia Tony Abbotts broken promise on higher university fees will put
all that at risk.

It is time the Abbott Government started listening to regional Australia and ruled out
cuts that will hurt regional students and regional universities.

TUESDAY, 23 SEPTEMBER 2014