Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said the Education Minister’s announcement the Commonwealth will fund 12,000 more student places for 2021 is a last-minute scramble to drum up support for unpopular university fee hikes and funding cuts.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Universities need a guaranteed, long-term funding boost, not a cynical injection of last-minute cash as the disastrous job-ready bill hangs in the balance.
“Universities are shedding tens of thousands of jobs and facing multi-billion dollar cuts. The government proposes putting a tiny band-aid on an open wound.
“While money for student places is always welcome, this is effectively an admission that the places promised in Job-ready Graduates come nowhere near satisfying demand for next year. Even with these new places, it won’t be anywhere near enough.
“When Covid-19 hit, the Liberals should have shown some leadership, provided a rescue package for universities and made university free for all students to aid our recovery.
“The grim reality is the government is crying poor on university funding while drawing up plans to bring forward billions in tax cuts for the wealthy,” she said.