Universities Australia wrong to say there is no alternative to Coalition’s regressive higher education changes

The Greens have criticised Universities Australia for backing the Coalition’s plans to deregulate the higher education sector and have called on Labor to remain firm in their commitment against it.

In response to criticisms of the Greens by Universities Australia, Acting Leader Adam Bandt MP said:  “It is disappointing Universities Australia is spending its energy picking a fight with the Greens, the only party with a plan to increase base funding to universities, instead of aiming their ire at the Coalition government that wants to deregulate the sector and cut $5.8 billion out of it.

“Chief executive of UA Belinda Robinson’s view that ‘there is no alternative’ would condemn Australia to an inequitable higher education system.

“There is most certainly an alternative. Instead of ripping $5 billion out of university funding, the Abbott Government could boost funding to public higher education institutions and improve student access and equity.

“Universities Australia should be highlighting how irresponsible it is for the Abbott government to abdicate its responsibility on university funding, not going after the Greens for standing up to Tony Abbott’s flawed agenda.

“The Greens have a long track record of campaigning for higher levels of funding for universities and student support to ensure higher education in Australia is accessible and high quality. Supporting a deregulated market is not the way to achieve this and we will not compromise on this position.

“The Greens call on the Labor party to stick to their commitment that they that they will not support "higher fees, bigger student debt and reduced access and inequality”.

“Instead of attacking the Greens and saying there is no alternative, university Vice Chancellors from elite institutions should work with their staff, students and the Greens to campaign against the Abbott government’s regressive changes," said Mr Bandt.