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We need to fix the broken HECS debt system

In this newsletter, how we took EVs to Parliament, a spectacular Glenferrie Festival, and next week's Town Hall.

The HECS debt system is broken.

If you or someone close to you has a HECS debt, you might already know about the unfair indexation system: because the debts are indexed to inflation, last year everyone’s debt grew by 7.1 percent, almost double as much as wages grew.

As a result, in 2023 more than one million Australians saw their HECS debt grow faster than it was being repaid. Last year, if you had an average HECS debt and an average salary, you would have automatically repaid $1,500 of your HECS debt… but your debt would have increased by $1,700.

We’re in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, a housing crisis, and a climate crisis — we shouldn’t burden millions of Australians with a HECS debt crisis as well.

This isn’t just about fairness, it’s about how much our society values tertiary education. Unfortunately, I’ve had several constituents tell me they are holding off on starting university because they’re worried about taking on HECS debts. We should be encouraging university enrollment, not scaring people off.

Over the past year, I’ve repeatedly urged Education Minister Jason Clare to make HECS debts fairer by changing the way they’re indexed. A major report into tertiary education commissioned by the government reported back last week, suggesting the same change.

It’s now time for the government to act. I will keep the pressure on until they do so.

In this newsletter, a look at how we took electric vehicles to Parliament, the spectacular Glenferrie Festival, and a very busy few weeks of events coming up.

We took EVs to Parliament

I’ve been advocating for fuel emissions standards since before the 2022 election, and last month the Government responded (see here for more info).

Of course, not all car manufacturers are happy about complying with fuel emissions standards, and lobbyists are trying to muddy the waters about that (but that’s another story you can read about here).

Electric vehicles are a key component of reducing the impact of vehicle emissions on our climate, and they are getting more affordable and more readily available. To highlight this, last week in Parliament I co-hosted a Roundtable to talk about what’s happening in the industry.

…and we brought EVs to Parliament to showcase the possibilities.

One of the first steps to transforming Australia into the clean, green economic superpower we can become is decarbonising our transport. After a decade of inaction, we are finally making important moves towards cleaner and healthier transportation.

Glenferrie Festival

Perfect weather - sunny but not too hot - meant a long and happy day at Glenferrie Festival. It was a great chance to catch up with volunteers, and have lots of conversations with locals, hearing what matters to our community - the hottest issues of the day were housing and HECS.

What’s On With Mon

There are so many events on the calendar this month. I hope I’ll see many of you at one or more of them.

Here’s what’s coming up this week.

Then on Thursday, join me at a Town Hall where Zoe Daniel and I are hosting Anjali. We’ll hear about her campaign for a Duty of Care Act – a new idea that would require the government to consider the effects its decisions have on future generations – and we’ll talk about how a Duty of Care Act might work, and how we need to legislate standards for climate action and protection.

See details and book to attend or join the livestream here.

In collaboration with Services Australia's Financial Information Services team, we are hosting information sessions on the Aged Pension.

We invite you to come and learn about the steps involved in applying for the aged pension and how Services Australia can assist with the process. RSVP here.

We’re running a Chinese language translator session too.

介绍养老金和澳大利亚服务机构提供的服务 - Dr Monique Ryan MP

If you know others in the Kooyong community who may find these sessions helpful, please share the details with them.

Join the Kooyong community for one of the most important days on the charity calendar — the Relay for Life. Relay for Life is an annual event raising vital funds for the Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support services.

I’ll be at Auburn High School on Saturday 16th of March and I’d love to see you there. Click here to join us — and donate if you can.

As well as these wonderful events we have several more coming up:

Pacific Threat: Australia’s Climate Record and Its Impact on Our Region: this special event will see former President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, Independent MP for Kooyong, Dr Monique Ryan, and The Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy Program Director, Polly Hemming, joined in conversation with editor-in-chief of The Politics, Rachel Withers.

Book here and use the code ‘RYAN’ at the check-out to get your ticket for free.

Come down and chat with me as I host another Pop-Up Office at Glenferrie Station on March 12 from 7:30-8:30am. I'll be ready to answer your questions, take on any feedback that you might have or discuss policy issues. See you there!

Come down and chat with me as I host another Pop-Up Office outside the Camberwell Coles on March 14 from 12:00-1:00pm. I'll be ready to answer your questions, take on any feedback that you might have or discuss policy issues. See you there!

Come down and chat with me as I host another Pop-Up Office at Maling Rd on April 19 from 12:00-1:00pm. I'll be ready to answer your questions, take on any feedback that you might have or discuss policy issues. See you there!

Think global, act local

Before I sign off, the people over at Electrify Boroondara asked me to spread the word that they are conducting a community survey…

Electrify Boroondara is conducting a short, three minute survey to help us understand what you have done so far on your electrification journey, what you would like to do, barriers to electrifying your home or rental and how best we can help you. 

The results will be used to tailor our programs and initiatives in 2024 and beyond. The data will also be shared with Rewiring Australia who are collating information from around Australia for research purposes only to assess the state of electrification within communities. 

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and provide us with invaluable information about what our community needs to electrify.

Electrify Boroondara is a community-led alliance dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean energy future. Visit to learn more.

OK, that’s all for now. As always, my team and I are here to help where we can.

All the best,


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