Picture taken of citizens protesting the 2014 budgetary plan outside of the State Library in Melbourne.

Article: Students and experts criticize 2014 budgetary appropriation Bill

New welfare reforms face heavy criticism from federal, teacher, and student bodies.

These protestations focus on the deregulation of university fees; the 80 billion dollar cut from health and education; increased interest rates beginning at a lower income threshold; and the necessity of the budget itself.

Stating that “the age of entitlement is over”, Joe Hockey went on to say that “through these one- in-a-generation reforms, the government will help build a sector that is more diverse, more innovative and more responsive to student needs”.

Tertiary education students fear that higher interest rates on their HELP debts will represent a serious financial burden, and will deter students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds from aspiring to higher education.

When asked about the effect of HELP on students, Dr. David Zyngier- who works as a senior lecture at Monash- says that “the proposed changes to the fee HELP scheme will serve to further deter students from under represented communities from thinking about a University education. He went on to say that“universities belong to the people of Australia, [and] the new budget policies are another step towards privatisation and corporatisation of public assets in line with neo- liberal ideology, further consolidating privilege and class division.”

At a rally on Wednesday the 21st of may attended by thousands according to local figures, Melbourne MP Adam Bandt criticised what he perceived as the hypocrisy of a political generation, who “have had the benefits of free education, [but are] now turning around and ruining it for the rest of us”.

In an article for The Conversation, Melbourne University lecturer Emmaline Bexley says it is important that these potential Masters and PhD students not be dissuaded from study and research “by the regressive nature of the proposed changes to higher education fee arrangements”.
For the first time, fees are going to apply to postgraduate research. Coupled with the effect of compound interest on their undergraduate fees while the postgraduate is studying, a PhD could cost upwards of 30, 000 dollars. Until this point, the majority of these researchers did not pay fees in recognition of their contribution to the country.


 Clive Palmer– who famously fell asleep during the budgetary reading- has questioned the necessity of cuts when Australia has “one of the lowest debt levels in the world”; with a GDP percentage of 13.5% in 2013, when the OECD average for advanced economies is 73.5%.

Rohan Farrar, a student at Monash University, seemed sceptical of the positive effect of higher interest rates.
“I am opposed to paying any more than I already have to, and considering that HECS and HELP debts are not directly correlated to average graduate salaries- people might pay a lot for an education which leads generally to low paying jobs- I think a global increase to interest rates of repayment as well as a reduction on the salary level from where repayment starts, is inequitable.”




Students and experts criticize 2014 budgetary appropriation Bill


The Glen Eira council has made plans to bring about larger accessibility for residents in relation to the Caulfield racecourse, as a component of their larger “Open space strategy”, to combat the municipalities lack of park or sports- grounds, while also preparing for an influx of future residents.


The draft of the open space strategy characterizes Caulfield as having the “least amount of open space in the municipality with the majority of the population not having access to open space within easy safe walking distance of their homes/workplace”.


In a speech to Monash university students, Councilor Neil Pilling said, “most other municipalities such as Bayside or Stonington either have [a] Beach, or the Yarra River, or the Gardeners creek trail. They have areas that they can actually use. We’re sort of like an island, we have very limited open space”.


The Caulfield racecourse, which is crown parkland, was officially gifted to the people in 1853, has been a primarily state- controlled enterprise. This land, which Pilling pointed out to be “owned by the people, but not run by the people”, is at present highly difficult for residents to use for recreational purposes.


One of the policies that Pilling wishes to enact is to remove training from the Caulfield grounds, and have the horses moved to a different area.

Questions have been raised about the affect that this new public usage will have on the racecourse’s surface, with some claiming that it may cause damage. However, Pilling believes that the removal of training will actually help the grounds.

As well as this, the issue with the way profits are made off of public land is considered to problematic by Pilling, on an industry “that the racing club profits on, but the community gets [nothing back]”. He goes on to say that there is an issue of “equity and accountability”.

A resident of Glen Eira, when asked about the availability of the Caulfield racecourse, said, “I of course think that the land should be made available. It would be unfair for it not to be”.