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Rural and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

Rural and Remote

Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

Commonwealth income support

for students

Department of Education,

Training and Youth Affairs Annual Report 1997-98:

"The Government announced,

as part of the 1996-97 Budget, the introduction of new arrangements for

delivery of income support programs, including AUSTUDY, ABSTUDY and Assistance

for Isolated Children. From July 1997 Centrelink, the agency that delivers

Commonwealth services, combined the delivery of student assistance with

payments and services for young people.

"AUSTUDY ceased operation

on 30 June 1998. From 1 July1998, the Youth Allowance replaced AUSTUDY

financial assistance to students, Austudy payment (for students over the

age of 25 years) and the Pensioner Education Supplement. Policy responsibility

for these payments now rests with the Minister for Social Security. Policy

responsibility for the Assistance for Isolated Children scheme, ABSTUDY

(including the ABSTUDY Pensioner Education Supplement and ABSTUDY Student

Financial Supplement Loan) remains with the Minister for Employment, Education,

Training and Youth Affairs."

Meg Nichols, Isolated

Children's Parents' Association (Tasmania), Hobart hearing, 5 November


"AIC is

available for eligible students but as we have mentioned not many secondary

students fulfil the geographically isolated criteria. When students are

in Years 11 and 12 Tasmanian families experience exactly the same problems

with eligibility for the Youth Allowance as was highlighted in the ICPA

federal council submission to this commission. Many families try, but

they cannot complete the required family actual means test form, because

of its complexity.

"ICPA recently

provided information about allowances available for rural and remote

students to the peak parent body in Tasmania. They were unaware of what

was available for rural students. These two instances remind us of the

fact that many families in Tasmania are not aware of the financial assistance

available to them and a small, volunteer parent association like ICPA

is ill-equipped to do the publicity. It is sad to think that there may

well be rural and remote families missing out on badly needed financial

assistance to which they are entitled or, indeed, not sending their

children on to further education because of a lack of information.

". there are many

families now that a few years ago would not have been eligible for the

Youth Allowance because of the assets test, and now may well be. The

actual means test seems to be the one that really prevents them, and

I don't know how many people in this room have actually looked at the

actual means test, but it's a really involved and complex form and it

scares so many people. There is a response that, "Oh, well, you know,

you can get your accountant to do this," but many people will not do

that sort of thing. They will not go to an accountant to get them to

fill out an application form for an allowance that they really feel

they should be able to have access to straightaway. But it certainly

is an extremely complex form, the actual means test."

In this briefing

paper you will find

  • Summaries of the

    following allowances

  • Extracts from

    submissions and other comments received

  • An invitation

    to share your experience


Assistance for Isolated Children


updated 2 December 2001.