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Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund Taskforce long overdue

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Senator Fiona Nash  Senator for New South Wales  Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education  Deputy Leader of the National s in the Senate 




Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund Taskforce long overdue

Labor’s announcement of a Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund Taskforce is months overdue, according to the Shadow

Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Education, Senator Fiona Nash.

The $20 million fund was one of the measures the Labor Government put forward to get its changes to the

Independent Youth Allowance through the senate.

The Government says it's to help rural and regional students afford the cost of university.

“However, the legislation was passed in parliament in March, with the Fund to start in January next year. It’s now

October and this hopeless Labor Government has only just announced the Taskforce responsible for designing

the fund.

“The Taskforce has barely two months to get its act together and advise the government on how the fund should

work. And it only leaves about one month after that before the Fund is due to start. At the rate this Government

achieves anything, that's a start date that seems nigh on impossible to meet.”

Senator Nash added the timing of the announcement is highly questionable, being the day before the Education

Minister and the Department are appearing before Senate estimates.

“The $20 million that’s been allocated doesn’t account for much when you consider the number of regional

students there are. And we have no idea of the criteria that these students will need to fulfil to be able to access

this assistance.

“If the Government hadn't made such a mess of Independent Youth Allowance, regional students would have a

better opportunity now for much needed financial assistance.

“It is yet another example of the Gillard Government mismanagement - regional students deserve better.”