The Australian Greens have warned that the Liberals will create a new generation of young Australians saddled with record debt, if they proceed with their plan to hike up HECS/HELP fees.
"Since the introduction of the HECS system, we've seen student debt skyrocket. The latest figures are an example of what happens when you continue to hike up fees, without investing in the University sector. The PBO costings projecting a HELP burden of $185 billion are based on the implementation of the Liberals' deregulation agenda which would increase collective student debt by billions of dollars," Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Robert Simms said.
"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.
"By hiking up university fees, the Government will be locking young people from lower income families out of furthering their education. We only need to turn to the United States to see the disastrous consequences of deregulation of universities.
"It's clear entry-level jobs no longer provide a pathway for graduates to earn enough money to pay back their education. Government should be looking at how they can support and provide more employment opportunities for graduates, not reduce the HELP repayment threshold so they pay more when they are earn less."