All parties urged to treat young people seriously

EDUCATION has been confirmed as a key issue for young Australians as record numbers prepare to vote.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is warning our political leaders that they must heed young Australians' concerns about the importance of education after a new survey found 62 % ranked the issue as "extremely important".

The release of the Youth Action and Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) survey of 3400 young people has coincided with a surge in young voter enrolments, as more than 90,000 registered to have their say in the July 2 federal poll, before the rolls closed last month.

The Morning Bulletin's Fair Go for the Regions investigation has already revealed a higher education gap between regional centres and Brisbane with 51.9% of Livingstone people achieving higher qualifications after school compared to 61.2% of people in Brisbane.

NTEU National President Jeanie Rea said the ARACY survey had also pinpointed key concerns with regional education shortcomings included rural and remote learning options, the resources available to schools and teacher quality.

"It is not surprising that young people nominate education as a top issue, with respondents indicating they see it as the basis for social mobility, a good life, access to jobs and as important to the success of the community and the nation," she said.

"Access to education, closely linked with funding also proved to be a major issue, as did equity across all levels of education.

"Of those surveyed, 62% ranked education as an 'extremely important' federal issue, followed by health (53%) and environment and social justice (both 51%)," she said.

She expressed concern that the May federal budget revealed funding cuts to higher education, made students pay more and introduced deregulation and $100,000 degrees in the form of 'flagship' courses.

"All parties contesting the election would be well advised to treat young people seriously, and that includes committing to affordable and accessible higher education for all," Rea said," Ms Rea said.



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