Ag Institute Australia has expressed its concerns changes to university fees would have a detrimental effect on the nation's agriculture sector.JARROD WHITTAKER June 12, 2014 3:37am
The head of a key agriculture body has criticised the impact of higher education changes on agriculture graduates, saying the changes will undermine plans to become the food bowl of Asia.
Ag Institute Australia national board chairman Mike Stephens slammed the changes, which could result in students paying double the current fees for their degrees.
‘‘Don’t try and make sense out of something that’s nonsense,’’ Mr Stephens said.
‘‘It just beggars belief that on one hand we can have politicians saying we’re going to play our part in feeding the world and on the other we’re going to make the cost of education much higher.’’
He said in recent years the number of students studying agriculture-related degrees had increased.
‘‘There was a major problem up until three or four years ago, but we’ve now got good people coming into the system,’’ Mr Stephens said.
‘‘But we won’t keep them with this nonsense about fees.’’
He said if fees increased, more people would be attracted to study in areas such as business, where higher wages meant people could pay off their education costs quicker.
‘‘It will put it out of the financial reach of a significant number of potential candidates,’’ Mr Stephens said.
His comments come as The Weekly Times newspaper revealed it would be cheaper to study an agricultural degree in New Zealand and pay for living expenses than study in Australia.
The Weekly Times said an Australian degree could cost $112
Mr Stephens said while he had not seen the figures, cheaper costs would drive students overseas.
‘‘You’d go to New Zealand, you wouldn’t stay here and you might come back or you might not,’’ he said.
Mr Stephens said there were benefits to agriculture graduates gaining overseas experience.
‘‘There’s a lot we can learn about New Zealand and in some ways it’s good for students to spend time overseas,’’ he said.
‘‘But our institutes in Australia have to be able to attract the best and the brightest.’’
Thirty-five tonnes of tomatoes from Murchison's Vraca Produce was pelted at participants of Saturday's Tomato Battle in Melbourne.
Local football talent Dan Howe played well in his first game for reigning AFL premiership club Hawthorn last Thursday night.
A dairy cow has died from the disease anthrax in the Tatura region.
Motorists are encouraged to attend a safe plates day on Saturday, after police statistics showed 23 numberplates stolen from Echuca in the past year.
The inaugural Rochester Mural Festival is in full swing with hundreds of cars stopping to check out the talent.
Elusive small man re-signs with club
Federal Government contributes $200 000 towards strengthening historic timber bridge.
The NSW Coalition government will not waver in its approach to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan
Red balloons adorned fences, letterboxes and verandah posts across the district on Saturday as the community thanked its firefighters for keeping them safe.
Local sporting talent was celebrated at the Sports Star of the Year awards night last Thursday at Barooga Sports Club.
A court case site visit has lead to a brief closure of the Cobb Highway at Mathoura.
Fruit Growers Victoria plans to give fruit growers in Victoria more on-farm support as a result of its organisational restructure.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.