Release type: Joint Media Release


Helping hand for HECS in the Hunter


The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education
The Hon Pat Conroy MP
Minister for Defence Industry
Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Sharon Claydon MP
Member for Newcastle
Meryl Swanson MP
Member for Paterson
Dan Repacholi MP
Member for Hunter

More than 70,000 people in the Hunter region will benefit from the Albanese Labor Government’s decision to cut student debt.

The Government is wiping around $3 billion in student debt for 3 million Australians nationwide – easing pressure on workers, apprentices, trainees and students across the country.

This builds on delivering a tax cut to every taxpayer, including the 293,000 living in the Hunter area and a $300 energy rebate to every household.

Our Budget is designed to help people who are under pressure right now, while setting Australians up for the future.

Our changes to HECS will deliver relief for students living in the Hunter region while continuing to protect the integrity and value of the HELP system, which have massively expanded tertiary access for more Australians.

In response to the Australian Universities Accord, the Government will cap the HELP indexation rate to be the lower of either the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Wage Price Index (WPI) with effect from 1 June 2023. 

The Government will backdate this relief to all HELP, VET Student Loan, Australian Apprenticeship Support Loan and other student support loan accounts that existed on 1 June last year.

This will benefit every person in the Hunter region with a HELP debt, fixing the issue of last year’s spike in the CPI indexation rate and preventing growth in debt from outpacing wages in the future.

An individual with an average HELP debt of $26,500 will see around $1,200 wiped from their outstanding HELP loans this year, pending the passage of legislation.

Estimated indexation credit for HELP debtors



*Actual credit amount will vary depending on individual circumstances including repayments made during the year. All HELP debts that were indexed in 2023 and are subject to indexation on 1 June 2024 will receive an indexation credit.


Australians with a HELP debt can find out how much this is estimated to benefit them using the HELP Indexation Credit Estimator:

This is part of the first stage of reforms the Albanese Government will implement in response to the Universities Accord.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“This will wipe out around $3 billion in student debt from more than three million Australians.

“The Universities Accord recommended indexing HELP loans to whatever is lower out of CPI and WPI.

“We are doing this, and going further. We will backdate this reform to last year. This will wipe out what happened last year and make sure it never happens again.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Shortland, Pat Conroy:

“This targeted cost of living relief will support 14,824 people in the Shortland with a HELP debt.

“The Albanese Labor Government’s important reforms will make HECS fairer and make studying more affordable for people in our community.” 

Quotes attributable to Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon:

“We’re making students loans simpler and fairer, reducing the debt of 25,398 Novocastrians, backdated to 1 June 2023.

“Last year’s indexation spike was unfair. Under our changes, it won’t happen again.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson:

"This announcement ensures student debt for 15,190 people in Paterson will be cut, and the new cap on HELP indexation will ensure debts grow no faster than wages.

Students who do prac placement will also benefit through the Commonwealth Prac Payment which will provide $319.50 per week to those in teaching, nursing, and social work. This support will benefit so many students, and help ease the financial burden during their mandatory practical placements."

Quotes attributable to Member for Hunter, Dan Repacholi:

“I want to see every person in the Hunter who wants to go to university, be able to go to university without being held back by the thought of a lifetime drowning in debt. 

“Uni students have enough on their plate without having to worry about debt caused by their degree.

“Their focus should be on getting their degree and starting the career of their dreams, not balancing whether or not it’s all worth it because of the growing debt. Their time at uni should be about education and setting themselves up for the future, not about putting stress on their finances for years to come. 

“Wiping $3 billion in student debt means that students in the Hunter will actually reap the benefits of their degrees, rather than being left with a pile of debt.”