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Catholics lobby wants Election Campaign focus on higher education

The Australian Political Ministry Network (PolMin) has called for the Election Campaign to give attention to the right of all Australian to access higher education.

Commenting on last week's comments on the cost of a degree from Shadow Employment, Education and Training Minister Jenny Macklin, and Western Sydney Bishop Kevin Manning's Election pastoral letter, PolMin spokesperson Victoria Kearney said: "The debate surrounding higher education needs to move beyond agenda of cost, HECS and university funding issues alone."

Quoting Bishop Manning, she said the discussion needs to return to the fundamental principle that "every human has right of access to higher education regardless of geographical location, income, or family background."

As part of its Federal Election Strategy PolMin is asking all political parties to commit the new Parliament to amending the Higher Education Support Act 2003, to make access to higher education more equitable for students in socially and regionally disadvantaged communities.

Ms Kearney pointed out that equal access does not mean that higher education will be free and up front fees and HECS charges abolished.

"To ensure equal access to fairer higher education, the Higher Education Support Bill be amended to allow for regulation of HECS fee increases, maintenance of a standard level of access for non fee paying students and levels of upfront fee paying and the repayment threshold be in keeping with average annual earnings," she said.

PolMin requests the 2004 Federal election campaign to focus more closely on the right of all to access higher education (Australian Political Ministry Network Ltd 7/9/04)

Australian Political Ministry Network Inc (PolMin)
Lobby says legislation needed for equitable access to higher education (CathNews 15/12/03)

8 Sep 2004