A young woman says that young people are forced to choose between “getting an education and putting food on the table” due to the high cost of living and education prices.
Former college student Bella Mitchell Sears said she had to drop out of university because the high cost of living made it impossible to afford her degree.
“I have been forced to put my education on hold because I need to work full time to support myself,” she said on QandA Monday night.
“My bills keep going up, and owning a home just seems like a pipe dream and it just doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.”
McNamara’s Labor MP Josh Burns criticized the previous Coalition government’s decision to make humanities degrees more affordable, calling it a “retrograde move”.
“I’m certainly not in favor of that. I’m not advocating for that. We’ll look to see if we can make the humanities a priority after we get a deal.
He went on to say that inflation is something that is “felt all over the world” and said the government is taking steps to combat it such as subsidizing wages for those in aged care and childcare.
“What I know in your situation is that making childcare more affordable may not be the most important thing for you, but for some families that has made a difference, medication and other things,” he said.
Ms. Mitchell Sears said she wanted to be a teacher, but the task felt “impossible” for her.
“I totally understand saying where these problems are coming from,” she said, “but I don’t hear much of what it could be, I don’t actually know how to do.”
Panelist and UNSW economist Gigi Foster blamed government mismanagement in housing and the consequences of the pandemic for the struggles of young people like Michelle Sears.
“The Covid problem has been handled so badly that we have created an inflationary environment where house prices are going up, as well as food prices,” she said.
Activist, singer and songwriter Billy Bragg has continued to encourage the government to do more for young people who want to work in the arts.
“The British taxpayer paid for my apprenticeship like a rock ‘n’ roller. I paid for my way back,” he said.
Many more can do this if we encourage our young people to reach their full potential.
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