Illawarra Greens. Social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and non-violence and grassroots democracy.

Universities and TAFE to be free under Greens

Wollongong Uni and TAFE to be free under Greens new public education plan

Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi is in Wollongong on Monday 17 December to announce that Wollongong University and TAFE would be made free under the Greens 5 Point Plan for Education.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It’s time to end the debt sentence. Young people are graduating from university and TAFE with crushing debts that take almost a decade to pay off. Under the Greens plan, over 1.3 million Australians will be studying fee free and debt-free in TAFE and universities by 2023.

“We have universal primary and secondary education. Free public higher education is the missing piece of the puzzle.

“No one should graduate with a decade of debt ahead of them. Australians have seen the benefits of free education, and we can have them again.

“We are ranked 30th out of 34 in the OECD for public investment in tertiary education, which shows how behind we are globally. We need to properly fund our public university system and reverse the cuts imposed by the Liberal-National Government.

“Removing TAFE fees is a crucial part of this plan. TAFE is being decimated by state and federal governments.”

Benjamin Arcioni, Greens state candidate for Wollongong, said:

“Vocational education provides a pathway into work for both young people and for older people retraining into a new profession. That pathway should not come with a burden of debt.

“Privatising vocational education hasn’t worked, and has wasted large amounts of Government funding. The Greens want to put that money to better use by funding the TAFE system, giving people a chance to develop skills and improve their lives.

“Making higher education free is going to cost money. Fossil fuel extraction companies use tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share for exporting our natural resources. We could fund free university and TAFE education by closing those tax loopholes.

“We aren’t getting as much in royalties from gas extraction as other nations, even though we are producing more gas. Making those companies pay their fair share would let us invest in our future by providing free education.

“I’ve taught students who are working while trying to study, and the thing they need most is more time. Increasing student support through Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy means students can spend more time learning instead of earning money. Proper funding of university and TAFE students will improve their ability to study.”

Rowan Huxtable, Greens federal candidate for Cunningham said:

“Reducing the diesel rebate for mining and gas production would provide additional government revenue without additional personal tax. We want to use this revenue source to better fund public education.”

“It would also provide a financial incentive to miners to replace diesel power with renewable power and energy saving.

“This would drive technological innovation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which we urgently need to do.

“Maximising community benefit from mining is not the same as maximising the volume that we dig out of the ground.”

More information:

Details of the Greens 5 Point Plan for free education can be found at :

Media contact for Illawarra Greens: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844

Media Contact for Senator Mehreen Faruqi: Matt Hilton 0423 106 247