The country’s largest union, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has expressed concern for the next generation of nurses and midwives who could be locked out of tertiary studies or forced to pay off their student loans earlier.
A/Federal Secretary Annie Butler said the ANMF was worried about the impact of a number of issues in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) papers released yesterday.
“Higher education reforms which will lead to capping student places could have a detrimental effect on the health care system which is already understaffed,” said Ms Butler.
“Nurses and midwives who are lucky enough to graduate will then be hurt by the push for HECS repayments to kick in at $45,000 instead of the current $55,000 threshold.
“This will impact some of the lowest earners across the country.
“Once again the Federal Government is targeting the community from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
“The Minister is also reaping savings from cuts to welfare payments and this is totally unacceptable while corporations continue to pay little or no tax.
“Using the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review to create savings will see Australians paying more for their health from January 1 with no indications of changes to the Medicare freeze.
“The Federal Government’s determination to improve their bottom line may do nothing more than move the poverty line for many Australians,” Ms Butler said.
The ANMF, with over 259,000 members, is the industrial and professional voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.
ANMF media enquiries: Cindy Jones 0408 168 791