THE Labor party has vowed to abolish the federal government’s cap on student university places if elected.

Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the government effectively capped the number of student places when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull cut $2.2 billion from universities in December last year.

“The limit on places hits regional universities and prospective students the hardest. Labor doesn’t think that’s fair, so we will abolish the cap,” Ms Chesters.

Ms Chesters said when last in government, Labor uncapped student places back in 2008, which by 2016 had seen an extra 917 Bendigo students get the opportunity of a tertiary education.

“Many of these students were the first in their family to attend university,” she said

The university sector, including Universities Australia, Innovative Research Universities, the Group of Eight, Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University have all welcomed the plan to reverse the current freeze.

In a recent public statement La Trobe Vice-Chancellor John Dewar said the move would be a step change for regional Australians, who are only half as likely to obtain a university degree compared to their metropolitan residents.

“Labor understands how vital access to higher education in central Victoria is and the critical role regional universities play in regards to regional development,” Ms Chesters said.