The Australian Greens are calling on the Government to abandon the idea of lowering the HELP repayment threshold to fix the budget bottom line when broader reforms to the education sector are needed.
"Lowering the repayment threshold by more than $10,000 is nothing but a cash grab from a desperate Government and will only cause added financial strain to new graduates as they enter the workforce. Such a dramatic shift would make it incredibly difficult for new graduates earning less than the current threshold to save for big life decisions such as purchasing a house or planning for a family," Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Robert Simms said.
"Not only is this particular revenue raiser not needed, it's straight out of the Abbott playbook of making life harder for those who can least afford to pay. Rather than lowering the HELP threshold, the Government needs to repair the broken for-profit VET sector and redirect taxpayer funds into universities and TAFE with a focus on achieving high quality outcomes for students.
"The Government has to stop viewing students as cash cows and recognise that higher education is for the public good. Instead they should focus on balancing their budget through other more sustainable means like cutting fossil fuel subsidies and closing offshore detention centres."