LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Turnbull Government’s capping of the amount it will contribute to universities for student enrolments at 2017 levels for the next two years is a kick in the guts for regional universities such as Charles Darwin University.
Under this proposal CDU expects to lose $5.5m in funding over the next two years.
This is the worst Christmas present possible for a regional university. Regional universities such as Charles Darwin since their creation have streamlined operations while encouraging domestic student growth and offering tailor-made courses suited to the employment of Territorians.
The demand driven model has worked well for the NT. All that progress is now having a severe handbrake applied.
Not only will CDU be expected to tighten its belt, but the decision by the Government to lower the threshold for student loan (HELP) repayments to start at $45,000, down from $52,000 means that many Territorians with young children and mortgages will be expected to pay back their students loans sooner, making it even more difficult to raise a family in the NT.
Many mid-career workers currently or intending to upgrade their skills or adapt to new technologies will also be under pressure financially with the lower threshold repayment. CDU has a significant number of mature age students and the NT has critical staff shortages in certain occupations.
There are economic consequences for the Territory. These decisions fly in the face of the Government’s much trumpeted rhetoric regarding the development Northern Australia.
The announcement by the Government to freeze funding will limit domestic growth in universities such as CDU. Increasingly, there will be a push to attract full fee paying international students for universities to make ends meet.
This announcement is not good news for Territorians who want their university to continue providing opportunity to courses suited for their employment and welfare of their families.
This proposal demonstrates how out of touch this government is with regional Australia.
Warren Snowdon (pictured)
Member for Lingiari
Member for Solomon
Senator for the Northern Territory
No Turnbull Christmas present for CDU
LETTER TO THE EDITOR