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Lack of assistance for students could drive down future earning capacity

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Senator Michael Ronaldson  Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs  Liberal Senator for Victoria 

Lack of assistance for students could drive down future earning capacity 21/10/10

Julia Gillard’s changes to Youth Allowance for inner-regional students were today proven to be discriminatory and lead to reduced educational attainment for regional students.

In Senate Estimates today, Victorian Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson raised with the Productivity Commission its Working Paper released yesterday called “Links between Literacy and Numeracy Skills and Labour Market Outcomes”.

One of the key points of that Working Paper was:

“Improving educational attainment was also estimated to have a positive, statistically significant effect on labour force participation and on wages.”

The Commission goes on to state:

“Model results showed that education has a positive effect on labour market participation and wages.”

Under questioning by Senator Ronaldson this afternoon, Mr Kirby from the Productivity Commission acknowledged that one of the factors that might negatively affect someone’s improved “educational attainment” was cost.

Mr Kirby acknowledged that the costs of living away from home and travel would be an example of such costs.

“This report and today’s evidence is a further nail in the coffin of Labor’s appalling failure to address the disadvantage faced by inner-regional students wishing to access Youth Allowance”, Senator Ronaldson said.

“For inner-regional students the criteria have been reduced to one. These students are now required to work more hours, for a longer period of time, before being eligible for “Independent” status.

“Those in outer-regional, remote and very remote students can, however, access all three workforce participation criteria established by Ms Gillard. Ms Gillard’s policy therefore discriminates against inner-regional students”.

Nola Marino MP, the Federal Member for Forrest, has detailed the outcome of this discrimination and put it in the following terms:

“This new policy divides regions and electorates, with arbitrary lines on maps determining student eligibility for independent status. Two towns in the same area on different sides of the link will have different educational outcomes. Students may come from the same class in the same school but be discriminated against based on which side of the line their homes sit.”

“The Government must immediately accept and adopt the measures outlined by Ms Marino in the Motion she moved in the House of Representatives on Monday night”, Senator Ronaldson said.