The Greens are urging the Coalition to support their move to amend the retrospectivity of proposed changes to Youth Allowance eligibility in the Federal Budget when the legislation comes before the Senate.
The Nationals today joined the Greens in supporting a move for a Senate Inquiry into the Youth Allowance issue and its impact on rural and regional students.
“The Greens welcome the Nationals’ attention to the proposed changes to Youth Allowance, and their support for the Senate to inquire into the impact the removal of these eligibility criteria will have on current gap year students,” said Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education.
“The Greens are currently in negotiations with the Liberals over our proposed Inquiry’s terms of reference, which will encompass the broader issues concerning young people from rural and regional Australia accessing higher education.
“I look forward to working with both sides of the Coalition, as well as the independents, to have an Inquiry established once the Senate resumes.
“The question for the Nationals and the Liberals now is – will they support the Greens’ amendments to remove the retrospectivity of these proposed changes when the legislation reaches the Parliament?
“When it comes to a vote in the Senate, the Greens urge the Nationals and their Liberal colleagues to stand by their concerns to support our amendments, and in doing so stand up for the young people of the bush and other gap year students.”
Senator Hanson-Young said the Greens were committed to making sure that the Government could not change the rules halfway through the game for gap year students.
“I have spent the past three weeks since these changes were announced speaking to students, their parents and teachers, visiting them in their communities and hosting them in Parliament as they told their stories.
“These stories deserve to be put on the public record, so the Government will have no choice but to hear about the unfair ramifications of this policy.”
The Greens will refer the issue to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee, with terms of reference encompassing:
• the impact of the proposed changes on rural and regional students
• access to employment for low-skilled workers
• the increasing costs of both living away from home and higher education, and
• the obstacles rural and regional students face in accessing higher education.