Greens plan to wipe student debt instead of Stage 3 Tax Cuts


Media Release

Women and lower-income earners would benefit more from wiping student debt than Stage 3 tax cuts, according to Parliamentary Budget Office analysis commissioned by the Greens as they launch their fully-costed plan to abolish student debt.

Liberal and Labor both support the unfair Stage 3 tax cuts, but the Greens will instead push abolishing student debt as a cheaper and fairer way of tackling cost of living pressures.

The choice is simple; we can either help lower income younger women - who will spend that money to help with the pressures of daily living - or give it to older, wealthy men - who will tuck it away in shareholdings or investment properties.

Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi will launch the Greens plan to wipe all student debt on 24 March in Adelaide with SA Greens Senate candidate Barbara Pocock.

Student debt continues to grow in Australia as more people elect to study and course fees have risen following implementation of the Government’s Job-ready Graduates package of 2020. The latest Higher Education Loan Program statistics provided by the Parliamentary Library find that in 2020-21 :

  • More than 2.9 million people owed an average of $23,685 in study debt. Comparatively in 2012, the average debt was $15,191.
  • The time taken to repay HELP debts has risen to an average of 9.4 years. Comparatively in 2012, the average time taken to repay was 8.2 years.

Enormous study debts are holding young people back and contributing to social inequality. Student debt would be fully wiped under the Greens plan. No further debt would be accrued as the Greens policy is to abolish university fees.

The Greens plan to wipe all student debt would cost $33 billion over the forward estimates and $60.7 billion over the decade, about a third of the $184 billion cost of the Stage 3 tax cuts.

Analysis prepared by the Parliamentary Budget Office finds that in 2024-25, the benefit of the Government’s proposed Stage 3 Tax Cuts will overwhelmingly flow to higher income earners and men, while the benefit of the Greens’ plan to wipe student debt will flow to low and middle income earners and women.

Quotes attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens spokesperson for Education:

“Young people and women have borne the economic brunt of the pandemic. With the cost of living and housing skyrocketing, it's time to provide relief by wiping their student debt.

“Stage 3 tax cuts will further entrench inequality. Instead, we should cancel student debt to narrow the inequality gap.

“Student debt should not be an added burden on people who are already struggling, especially after the impacts of the pandemic.

“Many current MPs, including the Prime Minister, went to university when it was free, but now students are being saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in study debt that often takes decades to repay.

“Rising student debt is unsustainable and wholly unfair.

“Abolishing all student debt will have enormous positive impacts for millions of people who will be able to afford to live a better life.

“Inequality is growing in this country and cancelling student debt will put money back in the pockets of people who need it to make ends meet, pay rent or save for a deposit for their first home.

“At the end of the day, education is a right that should be universal and free, no one should have to accumulate tens of thousands in debt to go to uni.”

Quotes attributable to Greens Leader Adam Bandt:

“Women and low income earners will benefit more from wiping student debt than from tax cuts.

“Instead of giving tax cuts to billionaires, wiping student debt is a fairer and cheaper way of easing cost of living pressures.

“With housing through the roof and wages low, wiping student debt will make a real difference to people.

“Liberal and Labor both want to end Australia’s progressive tax system with tax cuts for the wealthy, but in balance of power the Greens will kick Scott Morrison out and push the next government to wipe student debt instead.”

Learn More:

Greens plan: Wipe Student Debt and Free TAFE & Uni