Release type: Media Release

Date:

Legislation to deliver better Youth Allowance for regional students

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Australian Government today introduced legislation to eliminate regional eligibility distinctions for Youth Allowance from 1 January 2012.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, said the introduction of the Social Security Amendment (Student Income Support Reforms) Bill 2011 is part of the $265 million commitment outlined last week in the Government’s response to the Review of Student Income Support Reforms.

“Starting next year, students from Inner Regional areas will be able to access independent Youth Allowance under the same rules that currently apply to students from Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas,” Senator Evans said.

“As a result of these changes, around 5500 students from inner regional areas will either be able to access payments or receive a higher rate of payment next year.”

The new arrangements outlined in the legislation will also provide access to additional financial support for dependent Youth Allowance recipients from regional Australia who live away from home to study at university.

In 2012, eligible regional students will receive a Relocation Scholarship of $4000 for the first year of study away from home, $2000 for each of the second and third years, and $1000 for any subsequent years.

“The Australian Government’s reforms to student income support are working, with more young Australians receiving Youth Allowance while they study,” Senator Evans said.

“These further reforms will make it easier for students from regional Australia to study the course they want to study.

“In order to implement these changes from 1 January 2012 and give certainty to regional students, I have written to my counterpart, Senator Fiona Nash, to seek the Coalition’s co-operation to ensure the prompt passage of the Bill in both Houses of Parliament in this sitting period.”

A Frequently Asked Questions document outlining the changes is available at: http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Programs/YouthAllowance/Pages/QandAs.aspx