Oakeshott shows double standards on regional education

Federal Member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott today showed his true colours when he attempted to re-write his level of commitment for regional students and their families.

Mr Oakshott had previously voted to deny regional students universal access to Youth Allowance which would help further their tertiary education and training.

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino highlighted the double standards in her response to Mr Oakeshott’s Matter of Public Importance “The importance of education for regional and disadvantaged communities, and concern about cuts in education budgets.”

Mrs Marino said Mr Oakeshott had helped Labor cut Youth Allowance assistance for regional students to help their accommodation, transport and living costs in a city.

“These additional costs, usually ten to twenty thousand dollars a year more than the cost faced by a student living at home in urban areas, is still keeping regional students out of tertiary education,” Mrs Marino said.

“It is ludicrous for him to now to try to take the high moral ground when he helped the government to disadvantage regional students.”

Mrs Marino campaigned for two years with her Coalition colleagues to overturn Labor’s 2009 decision which slashed support for regional students’ Youth Allowance.

“Mr Oakeshott talked a lot but did not back practical measures which would have benefited students and their families,” Mrs Marino said.

During debate in March 2011, a Coalition amendment would have allowed inner regional students to access Youth Allowance under the same independence criteria as rural and remote students from July 2011.

It was defeated by Labor, Greens and Members for Lyne, Denison and New England.