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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2294


Senator VANSTONE —I refer the Minister for Education to the criteria by which Austudy applicants can demonstrate that they have been independent or self-sufficient for the required period and ask whether in addition to showing that they have been employed or that they have been in receipt of unemployment benefit they can also show independence or self-sufficiency by demonstrating that they have been in a range of other circumstances generally recognised as constituting independent living. If so, what are those other circumstances generally recognised as constituting independent living and what does the Department of Education consider to be adequate evidence of such circumstances?


Senator RYAN —The criteria for a student acquiring independent status, that is, a status whereby he or she is assessed on his or her own income and not on the family income, mainly constitute evidence of employment over a period of two years or the equivalent of two years. Another way in which a student may acquire independent status is if the student is over the age of 25 years, and a further way is if the student is married or in a de facto relationship from which there is a dependent child. I am not aware that there are any other ways in which students may acquire independent status but, if Senator Vanstone has some specific examples and she brings them to my office, I will have them examined.