Students protest proposed fee increases

The protest at USyd was one of a number at universities around the country

Protesters gathered outside Fisher. Protesters gathered outside Fisher Library at the May 17 NDA.

Around 200 students protested the Federal Budget today in a march from USyd’s Fisher Library to the University of Technology, Sydney.

The event accompanied similar protests at universities across the country as part of the National Union of Students’ (NUS) National Day of Action (NDA).

The proposed budget measures will see the current HECS repayment threshold dropped from $55,000 to $42,000 per year, as well as a total increase of 7.5% to university fees by 2022.

University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council (SRC) Wom*n’s Officer Imogen Grant told Honi, “today we’re protesting the hideous cuts from the Liberal government towards the education sector, the largest cuts we’ve seen in over a decade.

“The cuts to the education sector will hurt women the most, the lowering of the HECS threshold will see that women will take, due to the pay gap, longer to pay off their degree, and they’ll pay more money in comparison to their male counterparts.”

SRC General Secretary Daniel Ergas said, “We’re here today because we won when we beat fee deregulation, and we know that when students organise together and take to the streets we can scare the government into doing the right thing.

“We’ve got a group of at least 200 people here and that’s a remarkable achievement considering how many other responsibilities students have.”

SRC Education Officer April Holcombe, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, NUS President Sophie Johnston and USyd student Kim Murphy spoke outside Fisher Library before the protesters began marching.

The protest was observed by police at the University of Sydney, with a stronger presence awaiting protesters along City Road and at UTS.

The event attracted significantly more protesters than the March NDA, as well as filming crews from the ABC, SBS, Channel 7 and Channel 10.