Federal Member for Herbert Ewen Jones has launched a petition to fight a new tax on students studying at university.
As university returns for 2012, Townsville students are being slugged a new “student services and amenities fee” for facilities they are mostly unwilling or unable to use.
Mr Jones said the new tax, costing up to $263 a year, was an unwelcome burden on students already struggling to meet rising living costs.
Labor and the Greens late last year voted for a return to compulsory student services fees.
Dozens of students have contacted Mr Jones to voice their concerns about having to find more money to study at university when they are already struggling.
Mr Jones said it was grossly unfair to hit students with this extra cost.
“University students are right to question why Labor and the Greens voted to force them to pay for something that they don’t want or don’t use,” Mr Jones said.
“These days more students are older, study part-time due to work commitments and many are taking advantage of greater flexibility to study externally.
“As a result, students today simply do not have the time or opportunity to use the services offered.
“This particularly hurts full-time students who have limited incomes and when you add up the cost of textbooks, rent, fuel, groceries and power bills there is not much left over.”
The petition calls on the government to revert back to the old system of voluntary services fees.
Townsville students are encouraged to sign the petition, which is available at www.ewenjones.com.au and join the Facebook page – “Townsville students fighting the uni student services fee”.