Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has lashed the Government for refusing to back her bill which would provide relief to millions of Australians struggling under the weight of soaring student debt.
Despite the vast majority of evidence received through the inquiry supporting the measures in the bill to end indexation and raise the minimum repayment income, the Committee still recommended that the bill not be passed.
Senator Faruqi’s dissenting report is here.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Labor has ignored the loud, desperate calls from students, graduates, young people, women, unions, think tanks and experts for urgent action to address the student debt crisis. The committee majority relied selectively on evidence provided by a handful of witnesses to justify what seems like a foregone, ideological conclusion.
“The committee’s recommendation is an insult to everyone who provided evidence in support of the bill, especially those individuals who gave brave and harrowing testimony of how student debt was affecting their lives.
"By teaming up with the Liberals, the Government has shown that they are completely out of touch with the reality of millions struggling with student debt.
“The growing burden of student debt is making news every day and it's beyond clear that urgent intervention is warranted. But Labor has elected to sit back and watch as millions of Australians are hit with a student debt avalanche on June 1.
“The Labor Government’s priorities are all wrong. Modest measures to relieve the student debt crisis are apparently unaffordable, but Labor has hundreds of billions to splurge on dangerous war machines and tax cuts for billionaires.
“By choosing inaction, Labor is choosing to make life harder for millions of people, especially young people and women who are on the front lines of almost every crisis we face: whether it be cost-of-living, housing, student debt or climate.
“Corporate profiteering is driving inflation and students are paying the price.
“An education system that traps graduates in a debt spiral and forces them to repay student loans when they are barely earning above the minimum wage is unsustainable and broken.
“Soaring student debt is locking people out of the housing market, inflaming the cost of living crisis, crushing dreams of further study, stopping people from starting families and causing enormous mental and financial stress"