4 AUGUST 1999
500 Victoria University students marched down to a rally in Civic Square today. The rally was part of the National Week
of Action against Student Debt. Of particular note the "Debt-o-Meter" which illustrated the rapidly rising student debt
"The 'Debt-o-Meter' visually illustrated the irreversible crisis we are accelerating to," said VUWSA Campaigns Officer
Yadana Saw, "The interest rate means that the national student debt rises at a net rate of $1.7 million per day,
realistically there is no feasible way we can repay this."
"Thankfully the weather held up and we were all able to get down to Civic Square and have our say. We have known about
the shortfalls and implications of student loans for a long time and today was a good day to be heard." said Ms. Saw
Speakers included Brian Easton, AUS and student representatives along with various politicians, all of whom agreed that
the Loan Scheme was inadequate and in need of reform.
The aim of the protest was to promote free education as a solution to the crippling loan scheme.
"The taxpayer-funded free education system has not saddled us with problems, it is this present user-pays scheme that
has serious negative implications for the future. The irony is that the politicians who promoted the loan scheme did not
pay a cent for tertiary education." said Saw.
Student debt has been recognised as a major problem; the upcoming tertiary review has student organisations worried.
"Most of us are fearing the worst on August 18th, the tertiary review will probably see education as a cost rather than
an investment. That is a very short-sighted and foolish position to take and students will not accept it."