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Hardship provisions: too little too late



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P A R L I A M E N T O F A U S T R A L I A

H O U S E O F R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

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D R D A V ID K E M P , M .P. F E D E R A L M E M B E R F O R G O L D S T E IN S H A D O W M IN IS T E R F O R E D U C A T IO N

HARDSHIP PROVISIONS : TOO LITTLE TOO, LATE

20 August 1991

Mr Dawkins's acceptance of the Opposition's initiative to introduce a hardship provision for Austudy recipients has failed to provide an adequate response to the problem. The provision does not go nearly far enough in offsetting the difficulties incurred by many students in metropolitan and rural areas in obtaining financial assistance.

The narrow application of the hardship provision will mean that only those who are destitute and are already leaving their farms, or whose parents receive a social security or veterans pension will be eligible for student assistance.

" This is completely inadequate. These are measures designed to enable the Government to appear to be doing something but in no way provide for the many students who desperately require Austudy and will not receive it under the Government's proposals," Dr Kemp said in response to the Budget statement today.

On the 19th May 1991, the Coalition successfully moved a motion in the Senate that called on the Government to introduce equitable and fairer educational assistance for families who were forced to withdraw their children from education on financial grounds. This would involve assistance being made available on a case by case basis ,to the many students and families that have been affected by the rural crises and economic recession.

Instead the Government has made hardship provisions available only to those who are completely destitute , are selling their farms and leaving the lan d ." This is too little too late," said Dr Kemp today. " We cannot wait until students are completely destitute before they are able to receive financial assistance."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Norman Abjorensen (06) 277 4151/2035