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Gillard: no promise of change to youth allowance.

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Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

Monday 17 August 2009

Gillard: no promise of change to youth allowance

Minister for Education, Julia Gillard has at last spoken to students about the significant problems with the Rudd Labor Government changes to Independent Youth Allowance.

“Unfortunately both during the meeting and afterwards in a question put up by the Coalition in Question Time, the Minister gave no indication that she would take action to amend these changes.

“The Local students reported that Minister Gillard at last acknowledged there were some difficulties with the proposed legislation, though fell short of making a commitment to amend the Bill.”

“The Rudd Government changes mean students will now need to work 30 hours a week for 18 months in a two year period making it virtually impossible for many rural students who need to move away from home to attend university,” Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Member for Murray said.

“Today was important, because for the first time the Minister actually listened to the students to hear first hand how these changes affect their chance of a higher education.

“Local representative students, Samantha Threlfall and Talitha Gollan, (who have deferred their university studies in order to earn the income needed to qualify for independent Youth Allowance), Year 12 student Trent Doyle, parents Di Doyle and Lisa McKenzie and Jennifer Hippisley of the Goulburn Murray Local Learning and Employment Network were part of the delegation who met with the Minister. Representatives also came from Warrnambool and Gippsland,” Dr Stone said.

Dr Stone also arranged for the group to meet with the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, and Shadow Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne to discuss the effects of the proposed legislation and the amendments put forward by the Coalition.

“We must continue fighting this battle,” Dr Stone said.

“It is not fair that students are now re-considering their courses and plans for university because the Rudd Labor Government moves the goal posts half way through. We need to stand up for our country and regional students to have equity in attaining a university education.

“I urge Minister Gillard to take urgent steps to amend these changes to ensure a fairer education system for all bright young Australians,” Dr Stone said.

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