Information for New Zealanders living in Australia

Decision time for the Prime Minister

Jim Chalmers, Federal Labor MP for the electorate of Rankin QLD.
Jim Chalmers, Federal Labor MP for the electorate of Rankin QLD.

1 November 2013

Jim Chalmers - writing for the Logan Reporter

Around this time of year, school-leavers from all around our community start to think really seriously about their futures after graduation.

Finding a job, learning a trade, going to university - these are some of the difficult decisions that Grade 12 students need to make.

For local students born in New Zealand, there has been an extra obstacle to factor in.

Despite being able to go to school and become part of their community in Australia, these youngsters face large upfront fees if they want to undertake further study.

My predecessor as the Member for Rankin, Craig Emerson, worked closely with the State Member for Woodridge, Desley Scott, and with other groups including Griffith University to change the HECS-HELP policy so that from 2015, students with New Zealand citizenship who grew up here would be eligible to access the Higher Education Loans Program to help fund their education or training.

Since I was elected in September, a lot of people have been asking me whether the important changes the former Labor Government announced in June will be honoured by the new LNP Government.

So far there have been no announcements from the Abbott government about these reforms. Neither the Prime Minister nor any of his new ministers have confirmed that the proposed improvements to the scheme will go ahead. This leaves New Zealand-born students in Australia uncertain about how they will fund their future university degrees or vocational training.

I am now calling on Prime Minister Abbott to put to rest any concerns held by New Zealand students.

First published in the Logan Reporter.