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Coalition and Labor treating adult students as children.



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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Deputy Parliamentary Leader and Senator for South Australia

Press Release Dated: 13 Mar 2000 Press Release Number: 00125nsd Portfolio: Higher Education Related: Youth Affairs

 

Coalition and Labor treating adult students as children  

The Australian Democrats have attacked the Government and Opposition over their collusion to continue to shift the cost of student assistance onto middle and lower income families - already struggling to support young adult students over the age of 21. 

Democrats Higher Education and Youth Affairs Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, says the Coalition and Labor joined forces in the Senate today to defeat Democrat amendments aimed at lowering the Youth Allowance age of independence. 

Senator Stott Despoja says the Howard Government’s ridiculously high age of independence of 25 years for students has placed undue hardship on thousands of Australian families. 

“The Democrats believe the age of independence is widely accepted in the community as 18 or 21 years of age.” 

“Today, the Government and the Opposition demonstrated how out of touch they are with community norms by supporting the age of independence of 25 years.” 

“In doing so, they have continued to place a heavy financial burden on middle-income Australian families struggling to support adult children.” 

Senator Stott Despoja has dismissed the Government’s claim that families will be adequately compensated for the 25-year-old youth allowance age of independence by the planned introduction of family allowance for families of students forced to support their adult children. 

“The Government’s claim that $50 per fortnight for these families affected by the increased age of independence belies the fact this compensation was originally part of the GST compensation package.” 

“I fail to see how families will be adequately compensated by receiving $50 per fortnight in place of the up to $270.30 per fortnight which many families have lost.”