Senator calls for youth allowance reform for regional students
Nationals Senator for New South Wales Fiona Nash has called on Federal Minister for Tertiary Education Chris Evans to introduce reform to youth allowance to ensure that people are properly determined to have worked enough to deem them independent.
Senator Nash says that strict application guidelines have disproportionately affected students from regional areas.
Currently, regional students have to work an average of 30 hours a week that can be done by the following:
- Working at least 120 hours of work in each of 19 periods of 4 weeks, or
- Working at least 390 hours of work in each of 6 periods of 13 weeks, or
- Working at least 30 hours of work in each of 78 weeks (ie. 30 hours or more for 78 weeks)
Senator Nash said many students are opting to work the 30 hours over 13 week blocks, but cited ‘many cases’ that have shown that students don’t qualify for the allowance because of small shortfalls.
“It is not fair to deny these students assistance when they have clearly and genuinely sought to meet the criteria. There must be some flexibility allowed in these circumstances.
“The Minister (Senator Evans) can and should direct his department to make the rules more flexible. I have written to him requesting this, and that these changes be made retrospective to all students who have had to meet the average 30 hour work rule to qualify for independent youth allowance.