More than $78 million will be ripped out of South Australian universities in the next four years if the Coalition's cuts to higher education go ahead, say Australian Greens Senators for South Australia Penny Wright and Sarah Hanson Young.
The party this week launched a national campaign lobbying selected Labor MPs for their support in blocking the Coalition's plan to rip $2.3 billion out of the higher education budget.
Senator Penny Wright said Labor had one week to join the Greens to stop Tony Abbott's cuts, with the bills to be debated in the Senate next week.
"Although these were Labor cuts originally, we're giving them the opportunity listen to the public and vote against cuts that would only cause further damage to an already struggling higher education system," Senator Wright said.
"Funding education is the best investment we can make for the future. If Labor votes with the Greens we can stop these cuts from becoming law.
"Cutting funding for universities is socially and economically irresponsible."
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the 6,000 South Australians due to start university next year would also face $46 million in higher debts because the funding cuts will bring an end to student start-up scholarships. $9.2 million of that burden will be borne by students in the Adelaide electorate.
"South Australia is a smart state but these dumb cuts are putting that at risk," Senator Hanson-Young said.
"Tertiary education is one of our major exports and we should be supporting the sector, not undermining it by cutting to the bone.
"The seat of Adelaide will be particularly hard hit by these cuts and I urge Kate Ellis to stand with the Greens to defend university funding."