FEDERAL Treasurer, Scott Morrison, delivered the Budget last week, declaring it “a credible and affordable plan” based on “fairness, security and opportunity”.
But for Tea Gardens student Georgia Mason, who is currently studying at the University of Newcastle, the 7.5 percent hike in tuition fees doesn’t feel like “a fairer system”.
“There is already enough pressure on students to meet the cost of studying,” Georgia told News Of The Area.
“I’m working in addition to studying full time, but it all goes towards bills, living and Uni expenses, transport and text books.”
With an increase of around $3,600 in fees, a four-year, government-subsidised degree will now cost up to $50,000, and a subsidised six-year medical degree will cost a maximum of $75,000.
But there is more bad news for students, who will have to start repaying their tuition fee loans once they reach an income of $42,000, instead of the current $51,957.
Georgia said the “reduced threshold for HECS repayments just adds extra pressure for students”.
But the budget does deliver some benefits for pensioners.
Up to 3.5 million people receiving pensions and parenting payments will get a one-off cash payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples to help with winter power bills.
“It’s not a lot, but every bit certainly helps,” Bulahdelah resident Irene Worth said.
The Government will also provide $5.5 billion for home support services for the elderly.
“People want to stay in their own homes for as long as they can,” Bulahdelah Neighbour Aid volunteer Dianne Burns said.
“Most people are not long-term residents in nursing homes anymore, so this funding is important to support them in their homes.”
In other changes, pensioner concession cards will be restored to those who lost it after the pension assets test change was introduced earlier this year.
Mr Morrison said the Budget “makes the right choices for Australians who are working hard to secure the better days ahead for themselves and their families”.
By Daniel SAHYOUN