Government attempts to re-write its Youth Allowance history

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino has blasted the Labor Government’s shameful attempt to claim credit for a recent rise in her electorate’s Youth Allowance recipients.
“In 2009 it was then Education Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to make country students’ access to independent Youth Allowance much more difficult,” Mrs Marino said.

The onerous qualification changes for south west students included forcing young people to work for 30 hours a week for 18 months to be eligible.

This lead many potential students to delay their dreams or find ways to attend university without Austudy assistance. Local areas affected were Bunbury, Busselton, Collie, Donnybrook, Dunsborough and Harvey.

“Only after a determined fight by myself, my colleagues and local families that criteria for country students was re-instated.”

Mrs Marino said reinstatement which came in late 2011 allowed people to better follow their education dreams.

This followed an almost two year long campaign by Mrs Marino – which included introducing a Private Member’s Motion and running petitions – on behalf of local families.

“I am delighted that over the past year teenagers and their families have far more education certainty – which was only possible once the unfair discrimination by the Labor Government was removed” Mrs Marino said.

“The government still discriminates today by means testing the parents of children who are applying for independent status – which is an outrageous double standard.”

Minister for Tertiary Education Chris Evans had taken comments made by Shadow Minister for Universities and Research Brett Mason out of context to scare regional families.

Minister Evans seems intent on scaring regional students when it was now Prime Minister Gillard who introduced a discriminatory Youth Allowance scheme in 2009.


Youth Allowance Timeline

September 2009 – Then education Minister Julia Gillard introduced her Youth Allowance legislation which will changes the rules for Independent Youth Allowance.

October 2010 – Mrs Marino introduced a Private Member’s motion on Youth Allowance calling for changes which do not disadvantage regional families.

November 2010 – A Senate inquiry was called to investigate youth allowance access for students whose home is located in an ‘Inner Regional’ area.

March 2011 – Mrs Marino presents a petition to Parliament signed by people across strongly opposed to Youth Allowance changes.

September 2011 – The Federal Government backs down on its plan to change Youth Allowance criteria. Regional students will now share the same criteria as (metropolitan counterparts) inner regional students.