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AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (WA)
The AMA (WA) has backed recent remarks by Western Australia’s peak medical student bodies after they spoke out against irresponsible education funding cuts.
In a joint press release by the Western Australia Medical Students’ Society (WAMSS) and the Medical Students’ Association of Notre Dame (MSAND) released earlier today, the Federal Government was accused of ‘dumbing down’ Australia’s tertiary education system.
“The Federal Government is turning higher education into a soft target and Australia is going to pay for it in the long term”, said WAMSS President Ms Lee Fairhead.
“For the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan to imply that these expenses relate to first-class flights and five star accommodation is insulting.
“We are talking about examinations which are essential for junior doctors to undertake specialist training, and courses essential to maintaining professional development standards”, she said.
Medical courses often cost far more than the paltry $2000 cap on self-education expenses the Federal Government has put in place, and the AMA (WA) is worried that the ‘reform’ will deter people from seeking a career in medicine.
““I have never seen a move that hits both patients and health professionals as hard as this so called reform does. This move guarantees Australia will have a weaker health service and less knowledgeable doctors,” said AMA (WA) Vice-President Dr Andrew Miller.
“The Government deserves to be loudly condemned for this sneaky move and we call on the Federal Opposition to immediately guarantee to reverse it if it wins government in September,” he said.
The recent cuts now amount to almost $4 billion in university support over the space of just two years.
“We were promised an education revolution and instead we have seen a systematic erosion of funding and respect for higher education,” Ms Fairhead said.
“We will not sit idly by and allow our future to be dumbed down by a government that doesn’t understand the impact of its decisions,” she said.