BREAKING: Mass Student Protest Against Increased Uni Fees
WORDS BY JACK FOSTER
Students have gathered outside Fisher Library in protest, against the Federal Government’s proposed increases to university fees.
Several hundred University staff and students have marched down Eastern Avenue, towards the University of Technology.
Sophie Johnson of the National Union of Students told crowds, “there has never been a tougher time to be a student” labelling the recent federal budget as a “race to the bottom for vulnerable Australians”.
“The government are going to increase fees and they are going to cut education funding, and they are going to tell us to pay it back by the time we are barely earning minimum wage” claims Johnson.
Kurt Iveson of the National Tertiary Education Union spoke to crowds outside Fisher, saying the NTEU “stands with students in determined opposition to these crappy measures”.
Students from a wide range of faculties and political factions have joined together in opposition to the measures put forward by Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham.
The protest which has been facilitated by the National Union of Students, was sparked by the Turnbull Government’s proposed increases in University fees, along with a decreased HECS repayment threshold.
Under the proposed changes, the HECS repayment threshold will be lowered from $55,000 to $42,000.
Additionally, students could be forced to pay up to $3,600 more in course fees over their degree.
Minister Birmingham has previously described the package of reforms as “fundamentally fair, reasonable and necessary”.
This sentiment is not shared by NSW Greens Senator, Lee Rhiannon who spoke to protesters, arguing the changes are “ruthless to students and ruthless to staff”.
Rhiannon condemned the Federal government, labelling them as “no friends of public education”
Speaking to Pulp Media’s Joshua Wooller, SRC Women’s Officer, Katie Thorburn has claimed that “lowering the HECS threshold will impact the most vulnerable people, particularly women because women are less likely to receive graduate positions compared to their male counterparts”.
Kim Murphey of Socialist Alternative has claimed that these proposed changes will lead to “overcrowded class rooms, lecture theatres and insanely long admin cues”.
Police on bike and foot are keeping a close eye on protesters chanting “no cuts, no fees, no corporate universities”.
The protest is due to finish at Central momentarily.