Our young people are working hard to get ahead but amid cost-of-living pressures, the unreliable gig economy and the impossible rent and housing market right now, the 7.1 per cent indexation hike on HECS and HELP debt is an unfair additional burden. Many young people are finding that, despite a year of working and paying off that debt, once it is indexed again next week for some their debt will be higher at the end of the year that it was at the beginning of the year. We know that HECS and HELP debts are likely to be indexed at high levels again next year. This is not how HECS was intended to operate.
As we speak, intergenerational inequality is growing. It is getting harder and harder for young people to get ahead or even keep up. The government must address this head on, and a simple and practical start would be pausing the indexation of HECS and HELP debts. I call on the government to urgently consider pausing indexation prior to the 1 June indexation date next week. Longer term, the government must consider capping the indexation rate so that young people are never put in this situation again. Our young people need the breathing space right now, and in the future they must be given the same fair go we were given.