Proposed education cuts will hurt ‘world-class’ University of Wollongong: Sharon Bird

University of Wollongong student Chloe Rafferty and Cunningham MP Sharon Bird during a rally at UOW opposing the proposed cuts to universities. Picture: Georgia Matts
University of Wollongong student Chloe Rafferty and Cunningham MP Sharon Bird during a rally at UOW opposing the proposed cuts to universities. Picture: Georgia Matts

Cunningham MP Sharon Bird has hit out at the Federal Government’s proposed changes to higher education funding, saying the University of Wollongong would lose over $45 million in funding if the reforms went ahead.

Ms Bird made the comment during her speech in Federal Parliament on Tuesday, opposing the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.

‘’I want to particularly talk about how the bill will affect my own region,’’ she said.

‘’I have a world-class university...in my area. The implication of this legislation is that...the University of Wollongong will have a funding cut of $45.7 million over the next four years. That is a direct hit to the bottom line of the university, which plays out in reduced quality, a reduced range of offerings for students and increased costs being put on to the students.’’

A UOW spokesman said the university stands to lose $25 million under the changes.

‘’Sharon’s comment that $45.7 million will be cut from the UOW over the next four years is in respect to the Commonwealth Grant Scheme,’’ UOW chief financial officer Damien Israel said.

‘’Offsetting that in part are proposed increases in student payments over the next four years which brings the net reduction in overall funding to UOW to $25.2 million.’’

Read more: UOW stands to lose $25m in funding

The reform package includes cutting $2.8 billion from higher education funding, increasing university students’ fees by 7.5 per cent and lowering the HECS repayment threshold from $52,000 to $42,000.

UOW chief financial officer Damien Israel

UOW chief financial officer Damien Israel

The university sector this week released new polling showing more than 60 per cent of voters across the country oppose the cuts.

‘’Despite the fact this has been roundly rejected we continue to have it fed up to us in this place [parliament],’’ Ms Bird said