NUS’ Budget Night Media Pack

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The National Union of Students is your peak representative body fighting for the rights of students across Australia.

We make real changes to the lives of students by campaigning for an accessible and equitable education and welfare system for all; regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, or religion. We recognise the investment of education in creating opportunities, expanding job prospects for young people, and in forging a more just society.

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Upcoming events!

Bury the Bill: Stop Government changes to HELP debts

Upcoming Events-1

The Government has proposed changes to Commonwealth student loans which will make education more unattainable for many Australians.

When you take out a student loan, you only need to pay back the cost of your education once you are earning a decent income. The proposed changes will lower the income repayment threshold, so graduates will need to start paying when they are barely earning minimum wage.

The proposed changes also implement a cap on borrowing for Commonwealth supported places. Typically, this will affect students who are studying a Commonwealth supported undergraduate degree followed by a full-fee paying professional postgraduate degree. For example, a student doing a Bachelor of Arts followed by a Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne would have to come up with $40,000 upfront- more if they ever changed course or failed a unit.

These changes go against the spirit of the HECS-HELP system, which is supposed to facilitate access to education for all who are capable and motivated. If the proposed changes are legislated, low-income Australians will experience shrinking opportunities to go to university.

The Government has introduced this amendment just months after announcing the pre-Christmas university funding freeze, which reduced the amount of available university places. The funding freeze represents over two billion dollars of savings to the Government; but now they are trying to bleed students and lower-income graduates to create the appearance of short-term savings.

So, what can you do about it?

At some point in the coming weeks, the amendment be voted upon by the Australian Senate. We have prepared some materials to help you communicate your views with senators, so that they are aware of the impact this amendment has on opportunities of Australians.

Firstly, there is a petition. The petition may be accessed by clicking here:

Each time someone signs the petition, the relevant senators are notified. Putting your name and signature to the petition shows the senators that this is an important issue to you.

You can also Tweet at the senators. Our suggested tweet is: “@Stirling_G @Senator_Patrick @storertim @fraser_anning @Senator_Steve : please oppose changes to student loans that target poor and young Australians! #BuryTheBill”

For those with a little more time on their hands, please consider calling the senators to register your views on the student loan changes. You may wish to refer to the template letter for talking points.

Contact details for cross-bench senators (not including the Greens senators):

Name State Email address Phone number Mailing address
Stirling Griff SA senator.griff@aph.gov.au (08) 8212 1409 PO Box 8117 Adelaide SA 5000
Rex Patrick SA senator.patrick@aph.gov.au (08) 8232 1144 Level 2, 31 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide SA 5000
Brian Burston NSW senator.burston@aph.gov.au (02) 4959 1044 Suite 1-03 Level 1 Alec Rice Centre 43-43A The Boulevarde, Toronto NSW 2283
Peter Georgiou WA senator.georgiou@aph.gov.au (08) 9226 1750 PO Box 6, West Perth WA 6872
Pauline Hanson QLD senator.hanson@aph.gov.au (07) 3221 7644 GPO Box 228 Brisbane QLD 4001
Derryn Hinch VIC senator.hinch@aph.gov.au (03) 9820 2222 PO Box 33241, Melbourne VIC 3004
David Leyonhjelm NSW senator.leyonhjelm @aph.gov.au (02) 9719 1078 PO Box 636, Drummoyne NSW 1470
Cory Bernardi SA senator.bernardi@aph.gov.au (08) 8362 8600 PO Box 2192, Kent Town SA 5071

To find out more details about NUS’s upcoming events, please email NUS President at president@nus.asn.au

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