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Senate calls on government to abandon cuts to higher education enabling programs

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 17 Oct 2017


17 October 2017

Senate calls on government to abandon cuts to higher education enabling programs

The Senate today has passed a Greens-ALP motion calling on the government to abandon plans to cut public subsidies to Newcastle University enabling programs and introduce fees for students for the first time.

These cuts are the last thing the Hunter region needs as they come off the back of an 18-month high unemployment rate, said Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens Newcastle councillor John Mackenzie.

“This plan to load up students with $3000 in fees confirms that the Turnbull government is no friend of the Hunter or our universities.

“Regional universities across the country use these valuable programs to offer much needed assistance to their communities.

“The pressure is now on the One Nation party and Cessnock resident Senator Brian Burston to stand with the Hunter against these disastrous cuts,” said Senator Rhiannon.

Clr John Mackenzie said, “Newcastle and the Hunter is in the midst of a big economic transition, and a vibrant university assisting potential students through these programs is essential for our community.

“The University of Newcastle has recently been the largest provider of these programs and we’re pleased the Senate has moved to protect the some 3000 student placements made each year.

"At next week's Council meeting, I will be calling on Newcastle Council to commit to the creation of new apprenticeship, cadetship and graduate programs for young people.

“This affirms Council's responsibility as a major employer in the region, with an obligation to provide secure employment and skills for young people in our community," said Clr Mackenzie.

Motion text:

NOTICE OF MOTION                                                                                                                       16 October 2017

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that –

That the Senate –

  1. Notes that:
    1. The Government has proposed cutting public subsidies to the higher education enabling programs and introducing fees for these students for the first time;
    2. From 2011 to 2015 the University of Newcastle had the  highest number of students in enabling programs;
    3. Enabling  programs are essential for the University of Newcastle and many other universities to meet the needs of their diverse communities; and
  2. Calls on the Government to abandon plans to cut public subsidies and introduce fees for students in the enabling programs.


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