Cuts not so smart

WITH WA’s economy on the floor and Murdoch Uni having one of the country’s worst higher education deficits, Federal MP Josh Wilson has slammed proposed funding cuts by the Turnbull government.

The federal government’s budget proposes hitting universities with a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend across the board, as well as withholding another 7.5 per cent unless they meet performance criteria.

The cost of a degree will also rise, starting with 1.8 per cent as of January next year and hitting a full 7.5 per cent increase by 2021.

“Our future depends on improved access to high-quality education at all levels,” Mr Wilson said.

• Federal MP Josh Wilson with uni students Mitchell Stringer-Skilton, Kai Donaldson and Millie McDermott. Photo supplied

“The Turnbull government’s decision to make life harder for university students will stall innovation and research, and lead to greater inequality as young people from poorer backgrounds shy away from the expense of a university education.

“Proper support for education is the key to jobs, productivity and sustainable economic growth in our fast-changing region.”

The cuts aren’t set in stone, with the Federal government relying on the support from the Senate crossbenches to get it through.

South Australia’s Nick Xenophon, who controls three votes in the senate, told the Herald on Thursday morning that he was still weighing up the Turnbull government’s plans.

Education and Training minister Simon Birmingham says the measures are fair and will deliver better value for money for taxpayers.

“These reforms guarantee students will not pay a cent up-front and no longer face deregulation of fees, while universities will no longer face a 20 per cent cut to their funding.”

by STEVE GRANT

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