The Greens have welcomed the Coalition's support for amending the start date of changes to Youth Allowance eligibility criteria, backing the Greens' move to assist thousands of aspiring tertiary students who have been caught short.
The May Budget contained measures making changes to Youth Allowance, including the removal of two of the three workforce participation eligibility criteria from January 1 2010, catching current gap year students out. Early last week the Greens announced that they would be moving to amend the effective retrospectivity when the legislation reaches the Senate.
"We welcome the Coalition coming on board with the Greens' plan to amend the legislation," said Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens' spokesperson for Education.
"Pushing back the removal of the two workforce participation eligibility criteria to January 1 2011 will ensure that current gap year students can still access the income support that they have worked for.
"The Greens are pleased to see that the Coalition have moved beyond Malcolm Turnbull's original position of only amending the private health rebate element of the Budget, which was short-sighted.
"Their shift in position to now support the Greens' move to amend the effective retrospectivity of some of the Youth Allowance changes is a positive one.
"By our actions in the Senate, the Federal Government should have no choice but to listen to the deep concern in the community over the moving of the goalposts on these aspiring university students."
Senator Hanson-Young said a Senate Inquiry was necessary to examine broader issues relating to the obstacles faced by young people in rural and regional Australia in accessing higher education, and the support they need.
"Getting the experiences of rural and regional Australians and the expertise of education providers and student bodies on the public record through a Senate Inquiry will help pave a better path forward for accessible higher education," she said.
"The Greens will be moving for our proposed Senate Inquiry when Parliament resumes next week."