Change the Age

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Lower the Age of Independence for Centrelink Payments to 18

The NUS has been campaigning to lower the age of Centrelink independence from 22 to 18 years old so every student can access financial support when they’re studying. The rising cost of living pressures, casualised and insecure work, high rent costs, and the increasing cost of education fees are making it harder than ever for students to pay for their studies.

It is unfair to base a student’s payment on their parent’s income. With students Centrelink income reducing by 20c per dollar when their parents earn a combined income of over $58,108. Less than the average Australian income or two people earning minimum wage

The ‘Locked out of Youth Allowance: Student poverty and Centrelink in Australia’ report from the National Union of Students (NUS) and the Foundation of Young Australians (FYA) was released in October 2022, and examined the multiple challenges students face while pursuing tertiary education.

It found that over 450,000 students are being excluded from Youth Allowance payments because they’re under 22, and therefore, seen as a dependent in their family household. Centrelink’s age of independence remains 22, despite calls to drop the eligibility age down to 18 last year.

Policy needs to keep up with the reality of young people’s lives. 62% of people agree that the Federal Government has a responsibility to ensure students do not have to live below the poverty line while they study.

See the Change the Age website below and sign the petition to show your support