A young woman says young people are being forced to decide between “getting an education and putting food on the table” due to the rising cost of living and price of education.
Former university student Bella Mitchell-Sears says she was forced to drop out of university due to the rising cost of living making it impossible to afford her degree.
“I‘ve been forced in a position of putting my education on hold because I need to work full-time to support myself,” she said on the QandA program on Monday night.
Bella Mitchell-Sears said she was forced to drop out of university in order to support herself in the cost of living crisis.
“My bills continue to rise, owning a home just seems like a pipe dream and it doesn‘t look like it will get better.”
Labor member for Macnamara Josh Burns slammed the previous Coalition government’s decision to make humanities degrees more expensive, calling it a “retroactive step”.
“I certainly don‘t support that. I don’t advocate that. We will look to see if we can make humanities a priority after an accord is delivered,” he said.
He went onto say that inflation was something that was “felt across the world” and said the government was taking steps to combat it such as supporting the wages of those in aged care and child care.
“Which I know in your situation making child care more affordable might not be the most important thing for you, but for some families that made a difference, medicines and other things,” he said.
The panel were quick to point out the issues with Australia’s economy but did not give solutions according to Ms Mitchell-Sears.
Ms Mitchell-Sears said that she wanted to become a teacher, but that the task felt “impossible” for her to achieve.
“I completely understand saying where these problems are coming from, but I’m not hearing a lot of what can be I actually don’t know done,” she said.
Panellist and UNSW economist Gigi Foster blamed government mismanagement around housing and the aftermath of the pandemic for the reason that young people like Ms Michell-Sears were struggling.
Mr Burns said he hoped she would be able to finish her degree.
“The Covid problem was dealt with so poorly that we have created an inflationary environment where house prices are going up, so are food prices,” she said.
Activist and singer-songwriter Billy Brag went on to encourage the government to do more for young people who wanted to work in the arts.
“The British taxpayer paid for my apprenticeship as a rock and roller. I’ve paid my way back,” he said.
“Many more could do that if we encourage our young people to realise their full potential.