The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) supports the National Union of Students (NUS) National Day of Action (NDA) to be held Wednesday 26 March.
The NDA will give voice to concerns over the $2.3 billion of damaging cuts to higher education and student financial support being proposed by the government.
Students are also protesting against possible increases to HECS-HELP (fee loans) and the re-introduction of upfront fees.
“Australia’s public universities rightly enjoy a high reputation across Australia and around the world. The Government should not threaten this standing by cutting public funding and shifting further costs onto students”, said Jeannie Rea, National President of the NTEU.
“If the Government were to implement an increase in HECS-HELP as proposed by a number of submissions to the Review of the Demand Driven System, the cost of a university education at public university in Australia would be amongst the highest in the world.
“The experience from the United Kingdom has shown that substantial increases in student fees can lead to higher levels of debt default, preventing governments from recovering costs”, added Rea.
“The Group of Eight and some other universities are calling for an increase in fees. While this might increase the income of universities in the short run it will have longer term impacts on students with ever increasing levels of debt and ultimately undermine the financial viability of Australia’s income contingent HECS-HELP system.”
“As more and more Australian graduates are unable to repay their loans adding to costs of the HECS-HELP, the government will do doubt feel obliged to find savings from other areas of higher education.”
Rea said that treating higher education as a market commodity was an erroneous approach.
“Higher education is an investment in the future. Our members have strong concerns over higher education cuts and the impact they have on the quality of higher education teaching and research,” Rea said.