Youth allowance future unclear
AN MP has criticised the federal government for creating a rural education hardship taskforce less than three months before reforms relying on its advice come into force.
Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the government had been “dragging its feet” on the Rural Tertiary Hardship Fund, leaving Bundaberg’s Year 12 students uncertain about changes to Youth Allowance.
Federal tertiary education minister Chris Evans said the fund would be set up by a federal government taskforce, with the aim of providing more support for regional and rural students who wanted to go to university.
Mr Evans said the $20 million fund would come into effect from January 1, 2011 and run until June 30, 2013.
But Mr Neville said the late announcement meant the taskforce had less than three months to advise the government, despite legislation changes being made in March.
“The government has taken until now to get any movement at all from the minister, leaving thousands of potentially eligible students in limbo,” he said.
Bundaberg mother Ros Kemp, whose daughter, Kellie, is about to complete Year 12 at Bundaberg State High School, said she hoped the reforms would mean a change in the parental income test.
“It’s not a lot of money you have to earn each year before you reach the cut-off,” she said.
Ms Kemp said she felt lucky Kellie wanted to go to CQUniversity in Bundaberg, meaning she would not have to move.
“It is the accommodation which is the expensive part,” she said.
The taskforce will include academics from a number of universities across the country who will advise the government.