Yesterday Treasurer Scott Morrison and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann released the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook which is commonly referred to as MYEFO. It presented some good news about the state of budget with the federal deficit for this financial year now projected to be $5.6 billion less than it was in the May budget. The budget deficit however will still be $23 billion, and a surplus will not be reached until 2020-21.
Announced in the MYEFO figures was a saving of $2.1 billion by freezing grants to universities, a cap on funding for student place, reducing the repayment threshold for HECS to $45,000 from $55,000 and a lifetime cap on the amount students can borrow under HECS which will be $104,000 except for medical degrees which will be $150,000.
Scott Morrison stated that the freeze on university funding does not need Senate approval unlike their previous $2.7 billion higher education savings package, however the changes to HECS repayments and lifetime gap do which big government parties in the Senate will do their best to stop.
Not surprisingly the left was outraged that their precious and bloated universities were slated for a trim by the federal government. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young decried the savings immediately.
Govt cuts to Universities will hit students from low-income families the hardest. While rest of the world invests in educating young ppl for jobs of the future Turnbull’s cuts will squeeze poorer kids out of Uni #MYEFO
— Sarah Hanson-Young? (@sarahinthesen8) December 18, 2017
Progressive news website Junkee claimed the changes ‘closed out a shitty year in politics with some cuts to higher education funding, because please, kick us while we’re down’.
You would only oppose these savings if you still held onto the myth the only way young people can have a successful career is through getting a degree in the university system.
But the reality is that ever since the Rudd Government uncapped university places hence increasing enrolments the full-time employment rate of graduates has fallen. Between 2008 and 2014 the proportion of new university graduates in full-time employment dropped from 56.4 per cent to 41.7 per cent.
Meanwhile Australia is still suffering a trades shortage, this is due to decades of denigration of the social status of its occupations, yet salaries have risen significantly during that time in excess of six figures and has seen many business success stories. The shortage is what has led to the influx of 457 visas into Australia.
The universities themselves have become more concerned about making money rather than the noble enterprise of educating the next generation. They are not too different from the private technical colleges who were only interested in getting students to sign up their courses with no regard for if they had the capacity to complete the degree or earn enough money to pay back the loans, they just wanted to get the money from the government’s loan scheme.
It makes sense to reduce government investment in something which is obviously not paying dividends to Australia’s economic activity. It is also fair, why should those who have chosen a career in a trade or created their own start up business have to pay with their taxes for someone else to go study at university?
Let’s not forget what has become of modern universities. It is full of Marxist academics who provide endless attacks on Australia cultural and history and promote ideas such as gender theory, identity politics and are where the many social reengineering programs that pervade our schools are born.
Of course, the students at these universities are just as bad, those studying arts eagerly absorb the Marxist ideas taught by these academics and many seek to implement them by taking to the streets and are responsible for the many violent protests both on and off campuses we see in our major cities.
The other saving announced in MYEFO was that new migrants will now have to wait three years to gain access to welfare payments like family tax, parental leave and carers’ allowance. Most Australians believe this is fair given if a migrant wants to settle in Australia they should not become a burden on a tax system they have not paid into. One only wishes type of policy applied to asylum seekers whose welfare assistance often exceeds that of an Australian citizen.
Both the university and welfare savings are not just being done to balance the budget but do make economic sense and are fair. The government has done the best it can considering that most savings are blocked by the Senate.
Far from being a sour note to the end year on the Turnbull Government has finished the year by finally showing its economic prudence. But given that Turnbull has just lost his 25th Newspoll in a row he is going to need a lot more victories in 2018 to have any hope to turning his government’s fortunes around.