Leader of The Nationals, Warren Truss, has invited families in regional Australia to make submissions to the Senate Inquiry that is examining the impact of the Rudd Labor Government’s short-sighted changes to the Independent Youth Allowance criteria.

Labor’s changes will make it much more difficult for students to qualify for Independent Youth Allowance, with at least 30,000 young people likely to lose eligibility under the new rules.

Currently, students can receive Independent Youth Allowance if they work at least 15 hours per week for two years or they earn at least $19,532 in an 18 month period (since leaving school). 

Under the changes students will have to work for 30 hours per week for 18 months, forcing them to defer their studies for two full years or work full time whilst studying.  In many communities full time work is simply not available for young people wanting to go to university.

The Senate Inquiry examining the Rudd Government’s changes will receive submissions until August 7. The Committee’s hearings will be held between August and September with the locations still to be confirmed. The Committee is due to report on October 29.

People can make a submission by writing to: The Committee Secretary, Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, PO Box 6100, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.

The Inquiry’s terms of reference are:

That the Committee investigates and assesses the impact of the government youth allowance measures in relation to:

a.      the financial impact on rural and regional students who are attending metropolitan secondary schools, universities or TAFE;

b.      the education alternatives for rural and regional students wanting to study in regional areas;

c.      the implications of existing and proposed Government measures on prospective students living in rural and regional areas;

d.      the short and long term impact of current and proposed Government policies  on regional university and TAFE college enrolments;

e.      the adequacy of Government measures to provide for students who are required to leave home for secondary or post-secondary study;

f.      the education needs of rural and regional students;

g.      the impact of Government measures and proposals on rural and regional communities

For further information visit:

Inquiry into Rural and Regional Access to Secondary and Tertiary Education Opportunities