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Coalition plans to improve and expand Youth Allowance.

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Monday, 9 August 2010


The Nationals Federal Member for Mallee John Forrest says he is pleased Coalition policy will see a relaxed independent youth allowance work test for students in inner regional areas bounding the Mallee Electorate.

“This is great news,” Mr Forrest said.

“While students in the Mallee Electorate are already classified as Outer Regional (RA3) or Remote (RA4), just to the east are students currently missing out because they are classed as Inner Regional (RA2).

“Young people from rural areas, because of the geographical location of their family home, are required to relocate for full-time study.

“To assist, more generous workforce participation criteria for independence will apply for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY. This will be in addition to the option to qualify immediately through the parental income test.”

If the Coalition is elected on August 21, young people will be able to qualify for independence from the beginning of academic year 2011, where:

• their family home is in a location categorised under the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (AGSC) as Inner Regional Australia, Outer Regional Australia, Remote Australia or Very Remote Australia; and

• their parents’ income is less than $150 000 per annum.

This means that these students who elect to take a gap year and work between high school and starting tertiary studies will now again be able to qualify for the independent youth allowance.

Mr Forrest said Labor had changed the rules for the Independent Youth Allowance leaving thousands of students without the opportunity to access tertiary education.

“Despite caving into pressure from the Coalition, Labor still left 20,000 students in inner regional areas disadvantaged,” Mr Forrest said.

“If the Coalition is elected to Government and in consultation with students, parents and school organisations, the Coalition will establish a new integrated program to support families with children forced to leave home for territory studies, especially from rural and regional


“In the meantime these new arrangements will ensure that regional students get a fair go from the education system,” Mr Forrest said.

To check where the Remote, Outer Regional and Inner Regional boundaries, visit and click on the map for Victoria

Mr Forrest can be contacted on 0428 500 186.