This is no different to Australia. University education used to be a lot cheaper and this was because the government was throwing money into the higher education sector. However, economic rationalization meant that the government decided the best means of recouping some of this money was to institute a system where the user pays. In this case the user pays through the tax system. Simply, the government covers the cost of the education and the recipient of that education then pays back the money to the government through the tax system. The amount owed is indexed to inflation. I am still paying my university education debts off!
The Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) makes university education possible for many but it ensures that many people remain in debt for long periods of time after they graduate.
Perhaps in the aftermath of the Constitutional Court decision that held that the government must contribute 20% of the State Budget to the education sector that some additional money can be thrown at the higher education sector. However, there are simply more pressing concerns at primary and high school level in terms of funding education.
If the government does not put any money into higher education then State-funded universities will have to rely on increasing commercialization to make ends meet. This will be at the expense of students and their education. In contrast, the commercial interests of private universities is far less complicated as from inception these institutions have been all about making money off their students and research activities. The Campus Asia review of higher education in Indonesia makes this point clear when it ranks Universitas Pelita Harapan as the number two university in Indonesia.
Personally, education to the undergraduate level must be free.