Thousands of students from asset rich but cash poor farming families will be around $7,000 a year better off following the Federal Coalition Government’s decision to remove the Family Assets Test when considering eligibility for Youth Allowance.
Under the Coalition Government’s changes which were announced as part of the 2015/16 Federal Budget, the value of farms and trusts will no longer be considered when applying for Youth Allowance.
The Nationals Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie welcomed the announcement, which will benefit around 4,100 dependent young people.
“Applying the Family Assets Test to farms and trusts is unfair and has for too long disadvantaged students from farming families,” Senator McKenzie said.
“Treating the family farm as income is completely illogical and while many of our farming families have significant assets on paper, this does not translate to their bank balance.
“Cash poor farmers cannot be expected to sell a paddock or go into more debt to fund the full cost of relocating their children to attend university, which ranges anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 a year for each child.
“I strongly support the Government’s decision to remove the Family Assets Test, which will enable up to 4,100 students to access Youth Allowance for the very first time.”
Senator McKenzie said the removal of the Family Assets Test, as well as the Coalition’s decision to remove the Family Actual Means Test, were positive first steps in making the system fairer for regional and rural students, but more still needed to be done.
“Regional and rural students should not be disadvantaged simply because of where they were born,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The sad fact is students from regional and rural communities are not participating in higher education at the same level as students from our capital cities.
“It is deeply concerning that while 27 per cent of the population live in regional and rural communities; they only make up 21 per cent of our university population.
“Governments of all persuasions must do more to ensure that young people from regional and rural Australia reach their full potential and I will be working hard to secure further commitments which make it fairer for regional and rural students.”
Media contact: Ben Bulmer 0488 747 770 firstname.lastname@example.org