Australia: Xenophon team blocks government on higher education package

Australia/Octubre de 2017/Fuente: The Australian


El equipo de Nick Xenophon han rechazado los elementos clave del paquete de ahorros educativos superiores del gobierno de $ 2,800 millones, dejándolo bloqueado en el Senado.

Los senadores crossbench descartaron $ 1,2 mil millones en recortes de «dividendos de eficiencia», la asignación del 7,5 por ciento de los subsidios de matrícula universitaria según el rendimiento, el reembolso más rápido de los préstamos estudiantiles y otras medidas gubernamentales.

El ministro de Educación Simon Birmingham necesita 10 de los 12 diputados del Senado para aprobar su legislación. En 2015, su predecesor Christopher Pyne tuvo que retirar un plan radical para desregular la educación superior.

Hoy, la portavoz de educación de NXT, Rebekha Sharkie, pidió una revisión al estilo «Gonski» de las universidades y la educación vocacional.

«Hasta que no haya una revisión integral de la educación postsecundaria, sería un error respaldar muchos de los recortes propuestos por el gobierno», dijo.

The Nick Xenophon Team has rejected key elements of the government’s $2.8 billion higher education savings package, leaving it blocked in the Senate.

The crossbench senators ruled out $1.2bn in “efficiency dividend” cuts, the allocation of 7.5 per cent of university tuition subsidies according to performance, faster repayment of student loans and other government measures.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham needs 10 of the 12 Senate crossbenchers to get its legislation through. In 2015, his predecessor Christopher Pyne had to withdraw a radical plan to deregulate higher education.

Today NXT education spokeswoman Rebekha Sharkie called for a “Gonski-style” review of universities and vocational education.

“Until there is a comprehensive review into post-secondary education, it would be wrong to support many of the cuts proposed by the government,” she said.

NXT supported some measures including more money for work experience units within study courses, and $15 million for eight regional study hubs across the country.

Senator Birmingham said the government was “pragmatic” in its workings with the Senate, and would consider “the options of this decision for higher education policy”.

The minister said it was “irresponsible” for the Xenophon team to oppose “$2.8 billion of budget savings in favour of yet more spending”.

“Xenophon’s unacceptable approach would further grow the taxpayer-funded student debt burden and deliver even faster revenue increases for universities,” Senator Birmingham said.

Peak lobby Universities Australia welcomed the Xenophon stand as “a victory for common sense and Australia’s best interests”.

“They have sent a very strong message that pulling public investment out of our university system is not the way to build a stronger, more internationally competitive tertiary education system,” said UA chief executive Belinda Robinson.

“This is an opportunity for government to hit the reset button and stop, once and for all, treating our university sector as a target for budget savings — when in fact it is an investment in Australia’s future.”

The Group of Eight universities said the sector looked forward to working on a post-secondary education review with the government and crossbenchers.

Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson said NXT’s withstanding of government pressure meant “Australia’s students and universities are not now subjected to punishing increases in student fees and loan repayment schedules, nor funding cuts to course and research delivery which would have seen students paying more for less”.

Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm said “NXT’s statement that they will only support changes supported by the universities themselves is like putting Dracula in change of the blood bank”.

He dismissed the NXT request for a review, saying “Xenophon wants a ‘Gonski’ for higher education because Gonski was a multi-billion dollar cash splash without results, which is Xenophon to a T”.


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