RURAL and regional students will benefit from a $53.9 million injection from the Federal Government to allow more people to qualify for Youth Allowance or receive a higher rate of payment, The Nationals’ Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, says.

Mr McCormack has fought for more support for students studying in the Riverina and Central West and was pleased with the announcement in this year’s Budget.

“Why should a student living outside metropolitan areas be held at a disadvantage?” Mr McCormack said.

“As The Nationals’ Leader, I believe your postcode should not limit you reaching your potential.

“I want all young people to get the best possible education, particularly in rural areas.

“We know regional students face a number of challenges which their city cousins take for granted.

“This Budget delivers on our commitment to ensure a needs-based funding model which means a fairer system for regional students so they can be the best they can be.”

Mr McCormack said the Youth Allowance measures are welcome news for many in rural and regional Australia.

“The Nationals have been advocating for this for many years and I’m pleased we have delivered,” Mr McCormack said.

“I’ve spoken to a number of families whose children have needed to leave home to go to university to study.

“I’ve held forums to listen to students about this very issue.

“I understand the pressure and the financial strain on not only parents, but on the students themselves.

“This initiative will ease this pressure.”

Supporting regional students

  • The Government is increasing the Youth Allowance parental income cut-off for the regional workforce self-supporting independence criteria from $150,000 to $160,000. The new $160,000 cut-off will be increased by $10,000 for each additional child in the family. The Government is also changing the year for assessing parental income to the year prior to any gap year. Students will know whether their parental income is above or below the cut-off before they make the decision to defer university studies, take a gap year and work, to qualify as independent.
  • $38.1 million for ABSTUDY recipients to ensure secondary students who move away from home to study remain supported. The Government will also make it easier for scholarships to be approved under ABSTUDY.
Shane Manning