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Government youth allowance will hurt families

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja-Australian Democrats Higher Education and Youth Affairs' Spokesperson 12 March, 1998 MEDIA RELEASE 98/145


The Australian Democrats have urged Opposition and Independent Senators to reconsider their support for the Youth Allowance Bill, due to pass through the Senate today.

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said: "If the Government's Common Youth Allowance (CYA) passes today without further amendment, the welfare safety net will have holes you can drive a bus through.

"The Labor Party's support of the CYA Bill will let the Government shift the financial burden of young adults directly on to their families. If their families carinot or will not support them they are likely to drop out of study altogether.

"The Common Youth Allowance relies on a 'moral' obligation for parents to support their adult children, when no legal obligation exits. •

"The Child Support Act provides that parents are no longer responsible for providing maintenance once the child becomes an adult, that is 18 years old. That is the age which the community recognises as the age of independence.

"However, if you are a student, the Government, the Opposition and the Independent Senators will make you wait another seven years, until your 25th birthday, until they will treat you as an independent adult.

"By supporting the Government's 25 years as the age of independence, the Labor Party have voted contrary to their Party Platform, and contrary to their promises to students.

"If we cannot trust the Labor Party to stick to their promises in Opposition, how can anyone trust them with Government?

"The Democrats welcome the introduction of a common payment for students and the unemployed, removal of the thirteen week waiting period, the extension of rent assistance and the extra $25 per fortnight for some young unemployed people. However, this must P.' not be traded off by supporting the more regressive aspects of the Youth Allowance Bill," g

concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

1 For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja, o mobile: 0418 812 589 or Parliament House: 02 6277 3645. 0 QAUSTR.ALIANI D EMOCRATS 11/03 '98 WED 16:44 [TX/RX NO 71841