The idea of the government forgoing HECS payments for graduates who do things it wants seems to be growing in popularity. Maths and science graduates who become teachers will have half their HECS repayments refunded. Then there was the 2020 Summit proposal for a community corps funded by discounting HECS repayments. And in The Australian this morning a Law Council suggestion that the federal government pay all or part of law graduates’ HECS debts in return for agreeing to work in regional centres.
What this means, in effect, is that the Law Council wants the federal government to subsidise legal services in regional areas. But it is hard to see why legal services should be subsidised on a regional/city basis, rather than as at present through legal aid on an assessment of the client’s financial situation.
I’d have thought that there is a fairly simple market solution to this problem: if there are too few lawyers in country towns, then the price of legal services in those places will rise and attract more lawyers to them.
Continue reading “Lower HECS for law?”