Oh dear – that old chestnut.
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has opened the door to collecting HECS debts from deceased estates, a policy move which would boost government revenue by an estimated $800 million a year.
In an interview with The Australian Financial Review Mr Pyne said he had no “ideological opposition” to collecting debts from the estates of former students who died still owing money to the government’s income contingent student loan scheme, which is commonly known as HECS.
Hmmmm. I don’t know what the average HECS debt is. Let’s say about $20,000. So 800 million divided by 20,000 is 40 thousand. We’re invited to believe that, at least, 40 thousand university graduates die each and every year owing about $20,000 in HECS? University graduates must have a very short life expectancy. HECS has only been around for about 25 years.
I have harped on this before and there is no point harping on it again. The problem the Abbott government has is that it has included a whole bunch of policy in the budget that isn’t really about the budget. The higher education reforms are important and valuable and, on balance, good. But they’re not really about the budget. So too the Australian Border Force – an idea I find quite creepy. Why muddy the waters?