Thousands of university graduates would be forced to pay off student debts sooner under plans to reduce the HECS/HELP threshold from more than $55,000 to just $42,000.
HELP loan repayment thresholds and rates will be set to new levels from 1 July 2018.
At the new low payment threshold of $42,000 a graduate will repay 1% of their income, or $420 per year.
The repayment rate will increase with income, from 1% at the minimum threshold to 10% at $119,882, the maximum threshold; considerably higher than the previous 8% maximum.
Meanwhile all higher education course fees will begin to rise, as the government reduces funding to universities.
Student fees will increase by 1.82% per year for four years, resulting in a total increase in higher education fees of 7.5%.
These fee increases will apply to all students, regardless of when they commenced their study.