Abbott government considers mining-style tax to break Senate deadlock over uni fees

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty
Nanjing Night Net

Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Kate Geraghty

The Abbott government is trying to strike a last-minute compromise deal with Senate crossbenchers on university fee deregulation by proposing the equivalent of a mining “super profits tax” for universities that increase their fees over current levels.

Under the proposal, originally suggested by leading education economist Bruce Chapman, universities would be allowed to set their own fees but would face a levy if they raise their fees over a set amount.

Universities that increase their fees above current levels would have their commonwealth subsidies reduced by 20 per cent while grants to universities that increase their fees by $10,000 would be reduced by 60 per cent.

While the government has abandoned other controversial policies such as the GP co-payment, it remains determined to deregulate university fees before the May budget. It has embraced the idea of a fee levy as a potential gamechanger in its efforts to win over a recalcitrant Senate.

A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne confirmed that Professor Chapman’s proposal had been raised in negotiations with Senate crossbenchers.

“A number of proposals, including the submission by HECS architect Bruce Chapman to the Senate committee, are currently being discussed with crossbenchers,” the spokesman said. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.