Local Members Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones issued a challenge to Education Minister Christopher Pyne in Parliament today, asking him to front up to the Illawarra and explain his Government’s outrageous higher education cuts to over 31,000 University of Wollongong students.
Just before Question Time today, Stephen Jones said:
“Today the Member for Cunningham and I stand in Parliament and challenge the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne to come to Wollongong and explain his egregious changes to the higher education system, which is going to deny thousands of students from the Illawarra region their chance for a better chance in life.”
Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones used the opportunity to reconfirm to the Parliament and their electorates that they will continue to work strenuously to defeat this legislation.
“You should get to university based on your ability, based on your passion for your chosen field of study, based on your determination to contribute to the nation, not on—never on—what you can or cannot afford to pay. It is unacceptable. Labor will fight it and the community will join with us in that fight,” Sharon Bird told the Parliament.
“A university degree should not be a debt sentence. This has been the overwhelming message from people right across the region in response to Christopher Pyne’s reckless higher education legislation”, said Stephen Jones.
“Coming from this region we know how important it is to give people on ordinary incomes access to affordable higher education. Doubling the price of university fees and locking students from low income backgrounds and rural and regional areas is not the answer.”
Both members stated that Minister Pyne needs to explain to students and their families across the Illawarra why, instead of removing barriers to affordable higher education, his Government is putting more in the way.