Old Labor cuts spared by new opposition
A move made by the Senate on the Federal Budget means $435 million will not be cut from universities.
The Senate blocked a bill for the university cuts, which were originally proposed by Labor, giving the first indication of how the new Senate may vote in regard to bigger higher education reforms.
The $435 million efficiency dividend would have seen cuts to university equity programs, research grants and training schemes.
It was first slated as a part of $2.3 billion in funding cuts Labor wanted to fund the Gonski school reforms.
But the Labor Party now opposes the cuts, saying it is angry that the government will not fund the full six years of the Gonski package.
The new Federal Government’s agenda includes a full deregulation of fees, a funding cut of 20 per cent across-the-board and increase in the interest rate on student debts.
A poll this week found the university funding cuts and increased fees continue to be one of the least popular proposals in the May Budget papers.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne remains confident that a fair amount of the education reforms package will pass, but public statements from the crossbench senators strongly suggest the numbers do not back the government’s buoyancy.
Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer said he was opposed to uni fee increases and funding cuts in a speech to the National Press Club, but that could always change.
Some expect Mr Pyne will meet Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir to spruik his ‘vision’ for higher education.