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Students Need An Agreement Now on Youth Allowance

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 24 Nov 2009

The Australian Greens are working hard to improve the Government's flawed Youth Allowance legislation to help people who most need access to financial support for their tertiary careers, according to Green Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Education, says that any major legislative reform has historically been backed up with proper funding and student income support should never have been treated any differently.

"We are working with both sides to ensure this flawed legislation is improved to provide the best possible outcome is reached for all students,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"If the Government ensured all gap year students had a transition period of 12 months, it would buy us time to look at ways we can give more support to country kids accessing tertiary education beyond 2011.''

The Greens believe the bill is unacceptable unless it eliminates the retrospectivity that the party has opposed from day one.

"It is a basic principle of fairness that when introducing a new reform you don't backdate it so people who act in good faith are caught by the measures,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"That's what happened with gap year kids, and we have worked hard to ensure that they would not be left worse off by this legislation.''

Greens amendments already accepted by the Government would:
• Review the package to measure the impact on students, particularly those in rural and regional areas
• Relax rules to allow young people in rural and regional areas to be declared independent through an average of 30 hours work a week, rather than 30-plus hours EVERY week

"We are calling on all sides of politics to look after the interests of young Australians to ensure we are not left with a situation where everyone misses out,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

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