VSU repeal bill introduced

Today Kate Ellis introduced the VSU repeal bill. Her second reading speech is here.

There are no surprises from last year’s in-principle announcement, though a little more detail. Spending the money on political parties or election campaigns for Australian parliaments or local governments is specifically prohibited in the legislation, but clearly wider spending controls are envisaged via guidelines.

However the larger red tape extravaganza will be created by requiring students to apply for a separate SA-HELP loan scheme, to add to HECS-HELP, FEE-HELP, OS-HELP and VET-HELP. Since my original post last year I have thought of a reason why they want to do this, which is avoid paying the upfront discount for those students who do not take out loans (under the current system, students get 20% off the student contribution amount for paying direct to the university, with the government paying the discount to the universities so they are neutral between payment options).

However, there must be a simpler way. Given the costs to taxpayers of the loan scheme, I would recommend a 25% surcharge for those who do not pay up-front.

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