LABOR would create 1400 more university places in the Perth electorate by abolishing a cash freeze imposed by the Turnbull government if elected, says deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek.
Ms Plibersek made a flying visit to WA this way to inject a bit of enthusiasm into a campaign that’s been struggling to get momentum without an effective opposition; in both Perth and Fremantle by-elections the Liberal Party has decided not to run.
Last December the federal government hit unis with a $2.2 billion freeze on commonwealth grants, arguing they were putting too much of the money into administration and advertising.
But Ms Plibersek says that effectively put a cap on student places, and using modelling by the Mitchell Institute, Labor is saying reversing those cuts will boost local places by 1400.
“The limit on places means thousands of Australians will miss out on uni,” Ms Plibersek said.
“We believe that everyone with the ability and dedication should get the chance to study at uni.”
Ms Plibersek and the party’s Perth candidate Patrick Gorman also hit out at the Turnbull government over new childcare subsidy rules.
Visiting a childcare centre together, Mr Gorman said they got feedback that families were pulling out because the new system disadvantaged them so much there was no incentive to continue working.
“There were some parents going to start up a new small business in Perth, and because of the way the system was framed it was a disincentive to go to childcare,” Mr Gorman said.
Ms Plibersek says one in three families will be worse off under the new rules.
She also criticised the system roll-out, saying it was no wonder 200,000 families were yet to sign up, because it was too difficult.
Vincent mayor Emma Cole can attest to that; she spent 15 minutes on hold waiting to find out why the government’s forms were demanding information about her partner’s business details, but not her own.
by STEVE GRANT