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Government announces changes to ABSTUDY.



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MEDIA RELEASE

DR DAVID KEMP, MP

Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs

K2312

15 December 1998

 

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES CHANGES TO ABSTUDY

 

The Government today announced that ABSTUDY benefits will be aligned with the existing Youth Allowance cur rently available to all young Australians.

 

“Benefits payable to Indigenous students will be the same as those paid to non-Indigenous students except in cases where the Youth Allowance does not cater effectively for the particular disadvantages faced by many Indigenous students,” said the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp.

 

“All Australian students are entitled to equal educational opportunities,” said Dr Kemp.

 

“These new arrangements will be implemented from January 1 2000 and will be budget neutral. There will be no change to ABSTUDY benefits to those students claiming assistance in 1999.

 

“The case for maintaining targeted assistance for Indigenous students is strong, but significant improvements are needed to ensure clarity, simplicity, equity, administrative efficiency and accountability of ABSTUDY,” said Dr Kemp.

 

The Living Allowance for Indigenous students (aged 16-20) will be brought into alignment with the existing Youth Allowance. This will mean that Indigenous students will now have access to the Youth Allowance benefits of rent assistance, pharmaceutical and remote area allowances previously not available to them under ABSTUDY.

 

The Living Allowance for Indigenous students aged 21 and over, will be aligned with the amounts payable for the Newstart Allowance.

 

The assets, income and actual means tests that apply to the Youth Allowance and Austudy payment will now apply to ABSTUDY living allowances for all age groups.

 

The ‘Away-From-Base’ benefit for ‘mixed mode’ course delivery provided by educational institutions will be transferred from ABSTUDY to the Government’s Indigenous Education Strategic Initiative Programme (IESIP) to ensure flexibility. Under the new arrangements the Government will settle individual agreements with institutions for the purpose of achieving improved educational outcomes for Indigenous students from remote communities.

 

In addition, the ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement (PBS) has been fully aligned with the mainstream Pensioner Education Supplement. These changes reflect those already made in relation to PES under the Social Security Act.

 

“The Government believes that the changes to ABSTUDY will open up more opportunities for Indigenous students to access a wider range of assistance to achieve better education and ultimately better employment outcomes,” said Dr Kemp.

 

For further information: Samantha Herron 02 6277 7460 or 0412 639 754

 

 

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