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Greens offer real support for struggling students.



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Sarah Hanson-Young Australian Greens

Greens Offer Real Support For Struggling Students

Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young

Thursday 22nd July 2010, 1:13pm

The Australian Greens have released a four-point plan to help tackle student poverty and housing

affordability, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Youth and Education, says the Greens have

recognised the need for action to provide real support for students.

"Access to higher education should be a right for all, not just a chosen few,'' Senator Hanson-Young

said.

"We know, however, that students are increasingly being forced to juggle study and work, and that for

some people it is just not financially feasible.

"According to NUS figures, 66 per cent of students are suffering from extreme rental stress, while

Universities Australia data shows the average fortnightly living cost for students is $670, including

$232 on rent alone.

"There is an urgent need to provide additional help for students - and the Greens are determined to

deliver that support, allowing for a fairer system for all.''

The Greens' plan would:

■ Lift the basic fortnightly rate of Youth Allowance, which has not risen apart from indexation since it

was introduced in 1998, from $371.40 to the Greens' increased Newstart rate of $486. The proposal

would give students $115 extra per fortnight at an overall cost of $680m per annum.

■ Ensure universities are required to develop a plan - under the Government's Transforming Higher

Education Agenda - listing measures to boost affordable student housing.

■ Put an extra $50 million into the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) for a specific new

student division to boost student housing. This will give universities assistance to build student-

specific accommodation, and allow students access to accommodation at a cost 20 per cent below

the market rate.

■ Require university student accommodation to operate under the same tenancy laws as other

accommodation, giving students the same rights as all tenants.

"Our plan is another example of the Greens delivering good outcomes for the community - we will give

students the help they need to access tertiary education,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.