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Thousands of students to miss stimulus payments.

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Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Greens Senator for South Australia

Sunday 8 February 2009

Thousands of students to miss stimulus payments

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says thousands of full-time students may miss out on a $950 payment under the Government’s stimulus package as it currently stands.

The Federal Government has proposed that students eligible for Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy, who are enrolled by February 3 2009, will receive the $950 payment under the stimulus package. This is earlier than the date by which many students will have enrolled or re-enrolled.

“The February 3 deadline is unrealistic and guaranteed to exclude many full-time students-precisely those who will be able to put that money to good use,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“The Greens are calling for the deadline to be extended to the traditional census date used by universities, so that all students can get the payments equally.

“The $950 payment will prove crucial for students establishing themselves for the new academic year, for example by buying textbooks or setting up living arrangements.

“The current deadline is arbitrary and just doesn’t make sense - it needs to be fixed.”

Senator Hanson-Young asked the federal Education Department on Friday about the February 3 enrolment deadline, querying why that date was chosen, and what impact it was likely to have on students.

“The Greens are now waiting on the Department’s response to these questions,” she said.

“This issue is just one example of why the Government’s stimulus package needs careful scrutiny.

“We were right not to blindly rubber-stamp this stimulus package last week.

“The Greens are working constructively in the Senate, using the parliamentary process of inquiry to get the best results for Australians.”

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760