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Education reforms cost $8m, even though they didn't pass

Christopher Pyne during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House Canberra.
Christopher Pyne during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House Canberra. ALAN PORRITT

THE Abbott Government has spent more than $8 million on spruiking its higher education reforms even though they were voted down in the Senate late last year.

The reforms announced in last year's budget would allow universities to set their own fees, but would see a 20% cut in funding to the higher education sector.

Fairfax Media claims the government has spent $5.4 million on media bookings for the campaign that has run across television, print, radio, bus shelters and online.

It further claimed it comes on top of $2.3 million spent on the design of the advertisements and $560,000 on focus groups and market research.

It is understood the advertising campaign was approved before the reforms were voted down in the Senate on December 3.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne was forced to introduce new legislation the following day with several amendments, including dumping plans to charge higher interest on student loans.

The new bill is expected to be debated when Federal Parliament resumes next month, but it is unclear whether it will have enough crossbench support to pass the Senate.

- APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  government higher education politics university



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