Youth wait on pay­ments

Southern Riverina news - - News -

TOCUMWAL stu­dents are ea­gerly await­ing the find­ings of a re­view into In­de­pen­dent Youth Al­lowance rules, which could im­pact on their ac­cess to the vi­tal pay­ment.

The re­view, led by for­mer Mel­bourne Univer­sity vice chan­cel­lor, Pro­fes­sor Kwong Lee Dow, was due to be handed down on July 1.

But Shadow Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary for Re­gional Ed­u­ca­tion Sen­a­tor Fiona Nash said it could be an­other six weeks be­fore the find­ings are made pub­lic.

Prof Dow’s study aimed to in­ves­ti­gate the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s youth al­lowance eligi- bil­ity re­quire­ments, par­tic­u­larly for gap year stu­dents, which have been de­scribed as dis­crim­i­na­tory.

It out­lines that in­ner re­gional stu­dents, in­clud­ing those who live in Tocumwal, need to work 30 hours each week for 18 months dur­ing a gap year to sat­isfy In­de­pen­dent Youth Al­lowance el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria.

The path­way al­lows stu­dents to demon­strate they are in­de­pen­dent of their par­ents, whose in­come is above the el­i­gi­bil­ity thresh­old.

Stu­dents in outer re­gional, ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas how­ever, like those who live at Blighty and Fin­ley, only need to work 15 hours a week for the same time pe­riod.

The re­port is to be tabled in each house of par­lia­ment within 10 sitting days, which is by Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 24.

This re­port must be tabled in full with no changes or de­tail re­moved, Sen­a­tor Nash said.

‘‘So many in­ner re­gional stu­dents and their fam­i­lies are hop­ing this re­view will rec­om­mend changes to the un­rea­son­able 30 hour a week work rule that they have to meet to qual­ify for In­de­pen­dent Youth Al­lowance, and that the Gil­lard Gov­ern­ment will fi­nally lis­ten,’’ Sen­a­tor Nash said.

‘‘The gov­ern­ment must also keep its word and re­move the re­gional dis­tinc­tions that are used to de­ter­mine el­i­gi­bil­ity.

‘‘No stu­dent should be pe­nalised for where they live. Any ru­ral or re­gional stu­dent who has to re­lo­cate for ter­tiary stud­ies should get the sup­port they need.

‘‘And if this gov­ern­ment had any un­der­stand­ing of the fi­nan­cial hard­ship it was caus­ing for so many re­gional stu­dents and their fam­i­lies, it would im­me­di­ately put in place changes to make the sys­tem fair.

‘‘It would give re­gional stu­dents and their fam­i­lies the cer­tainty they de­serve.’’

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