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Department ignorance is proof of Government disinterest in plight of regional students

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14 February 2013

Department ignorance is proof of Government disinterest in plight of regional students

Federal education officials questioned in Senate Estimates were unable to provide basic statistics about the number of students from regional Australia missing out on income support since the Government tightened eligibility criteria in 2010, according to Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education, Fiona Nash.

“To receive the full rate of student income support, known as Independent Youth Allowance, young people must meet a long series of criteria, such as working and living away from home, to prove they are independent of their parents,” Senator Nash said.

“However, even regional students who jump through all these hoops are automatically disqualified if gross combined parental income exceeds $150,000.”

“It seems if one parent is a nurse and the other a police officer, you can never be independent under Labor.”

“What the Department officials conceded today is that they have no idea how many students from regional Australia have been denied Independent Youth Allowance for this reason. Regional students just aren’t a priority for this government.”

“Only around 33 per cent of regional students go on to tertiary education compared to 55 per cent in the cities. All the evidence shows that this is because of the huge costs regional students face who have no choice but to relocate to attend tertiary education.”

“The Government just doesn’t care about regional students. When will they wake up and realise that regional students deserve the same access to tertiary education as city students do,” Senator Nash concluded.

Contact: Murray Lees 0417 406 338

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