Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will target the government's higher education changes in his budget reply speech on Thursday night, in which he will also call for the deficit levy on high income earners to be maintained.
Shadow education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek confirmed the opposition would oppose:
- the proposed 7.5 per cent fee increase;
- the reduction in the HECS repayment threshold to an annual salary of $42,000; and
- the 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend on university funding."Clearly, Malcolm Turnbull thinks it's fair to saddle young Australians with a big uni debt at the same time as they are trying to buy a house, or start a family," Ms Plibersek said."He is completely out of touch."If Australia is to have a strong, high productivity economy, we should be investing in education, not cutting it like the Liberals are doing."Over the last four years, the Liberals have spent around $4.5 million on 27 reviews, inquiries, and talkfests on higher education."All they've come up with is a plan for higher student fees and cuts to unis - it's pathetic."