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Higher Education Reforms May Impact Essential Services say Vets

22 January 2015
Australian Veterinary Association

AUSTRALIA - Plans to reform higher education package for vets could have unintended consequences is passed, warns the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

President of the AVA, Dr Julia Nicholls said the professional association had been campaigning against the reforms because of their likely effect on the future viability of the veterinary profession.

“Vets are vital to agricultural industries, biosecurity, public health and food safety. These reforms could impact the essential services that veterinarians provide to the economy and the community,” she said.

“Our modelling has shown vet students of the future could be facing unsustainably high levels of debt under the government’s higher education reforms, currently under scrutiny by cross benchers.

“Even with the scrapping of raised interest rates on student loans, vet students are likely to take around 30 years to pay off their debt. And the total repayments may be well over A$200,000. This is an unsustainable level of debt for members of a profession with an average total income of $77,000,” Dr Nicholls said.

“The AVA is seriously concerned about the impact on the future viability of the profession with potentially large number of graduates with extremely high levels of debt and limited ability to repay it.

“Our position is that market forces will not operate appropriately in the case of vet courses, and the consequences of these changes are unknown. Without sound workforce planning, it’s all guesswork. And it’s far too big a risk to take with a profession with such an important role.”

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