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The University Accord calls for the Government to make changes to how student debt is calculated and when it is deducted (Bigstock)

The Albanese Government is expected to change the rate and timing of HECS indexation in the federal budget as people grappling with massive student debt brace for another large rise in June. Source: The Age.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said yesterday that a Government announcement was imminent on a recommended overhaul of HECS as calls spread along the crossbench for Labor to look at wiping student debt.

“I think there’s a range of areas where we need to do much better with the younger generation, basically, and HECs is one of them,” Albanese told central Queensland radio station HIT.

“What we’ve done is we’re developing a Universities Accord, essentially with all of the universities across the board. And what that has said is that the system can be made simpler and be made fairer.”

The Universities Accord released its final report in February, calling for the government to make numerous changes to how student debt is calculated and when it is deducted. The expert panel, chaired by scientist and consultant Mary O’Kane, recommended fixing the rate of indexation to the lowest of either the wage price index or the consumer price index.

The current indexation rate is calculated by a formula that relies on CPI but is not in line with annual inflation figures. Last year loans rose by 7.1 per cent, increasing the average student loan of $24,770 by $1759 in the thick of a cost-of-living crisis.

The report also called on the government to change the date of indexation from June 1, so the amount deducted from workers’ pay packets throughout the financial year would be taken into account by the Tax Office when recalculating debts.

Albanese said the government was examining the recommendations before an announcement, adding he wanted more people to go to university.

However, the changes would have to be legislated, meaning it is uncertain relief would flow to students and graduates before June.


‘Simpler and fairer’: Albanese flags HECS changes in budget relief (By Angus Thompson, The Age)