Australian Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Robert Simms says PBO costings reveal the Government's deregulation agenda is a ticking debt time bomb.
"It's obvious the Government's deregulation plan that would see massive increases in the cost of university degrees will result in higher student debts. The Parliamentary Budget Office report referenced in The Age today showed on average, a basic three-year degree would see students graduating with $50,500 HECS/HELP debts if this deregulation agenda is not abandoned," Senator Simms said.
"By cutting funding for universities and shifting the burden onto students the Government is creating a huge debt for Australians. It's clear this user-pays model is deeply flawed.
"Higher education is there to give students more skills, career prospects and the opportunities to succeed in the workforce, not to condemn them to massive debts when they graduate. We only have to look to the United States to see the disastrous consequences of deregulation of universities.
"The Liberals like to preach about reducing debt, yet they are creating a new ‘generation debt' - young people who may be prevented from making significant life decisions like buying a new home or starting a family, because of their skyrocketing HECS/HELP liability. Graduates will be walking out of university with a debt bigger than a housing deposit."