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Youth Allowance angst not going away.

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Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Nationals Member for Mallee John Forrest has urged the Rudd Labor Government in Parliament to act quickly and bring relief to regional Australian students forced to reconsider their futures because of dramatic Budget changes to Youth Allowance

Mr Forrest told Parliament late Monday of the impact in Mallee.

“You can tell by the jamming of the switchboard and the numerical strength of the emails that this is a huge issue affecting thousands of potential university students across north-west Victoria, and other rural constituencies have felt the same,” Mr Forrest said.

“In fact, it is estimated that something like 30,000 potential tertiary students right across the nation have been affected by this shifting of the goalposts. After the plans they made, following their year 12 VCE qualification, to defer their university coursefor one year in order to accumulate some money to assist their parents to pay for their tertiary education, the goalposts have been shifted on them.

“They are now being told they’re expected to work up to 30 hours a week prior to their university course, which would require them to engage in that work during their important years 11, and 12, at school, years that are already a challenge.”

Mr Forrest said he was relieved a Senate inquiry would be investigating the matter and should be able to convince the government it needs to make some adjustments to its policy position.

“Some of the intent of the budget announcement might have been a noble one, to ensure that youngsters who have the advantage of living in the big cities and can continue to live with their parents, did not take advantage of the system,” he said. But that opportunity is not available to country kids. They have usually got to travel hundreds of miles to attend a metropolitan or provincial based university.

“I am hoping that the findings of the Senate committee will assist in nudging the government to tweak this budget announcement so that country students are not substantially impacted,” Mr Forrest said.

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.

John Forrest MP The Nationals Member for Mallee

Phone (03) 5021 5987 Fax (03) 5023 3274