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Budget 2007: Democrat win on Austudy rent assistance.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA TUESDAY MAY 8 2007

SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS HIGHER EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON

DEMOCRAT WIN ON AUSTUDY RENT ASSISTANCE

The Australian Democrats have welcomed the Government's decision to grant Austudy recipients access to Rent Assistance.

Previously, eligible full-time students under 25 were entitled to Youth Allowance, while full-time students aged 25 and over could only apply for Austudy. The basic payment rate was the same for both groups but only Youth Allowance recipients were entitled to apply for additional Rent Assistance.

"This is a great win for the Democrats and one that will have an impact on lives of students and aspiring students," Democrats' Higher Education Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

"The skills that students gain during their time at university are critical to Australia's future competitiveness. Giving students some additional financial security to help them focus on their studies is in the national interest.

Copies of the postcard and petition that Senator Stott Despoja has distributed over the past two years are available: www.democrats.org.au/campaigns/rent_assistance_petition/

In 2004, Senator Stott Despoja initiated the first ever Senate inquiry to focus solely on student income support. The inquiry reported in June 2005, and recommended that Rent Assistance be extended to Austudy recipients, subject to Government costing.

Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260