Youth wait on payments
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.’’