From 1 January 2019, the Government will relax the Parental Income Tax for regional student’s access to Youth Allowance. This measure is estimated to cost $53.9 million over four years.
The current cut off amount for parental income is $150,000. This measure will increase the cut-off amount by $10,000 per annum per child (ie to $160,000 for 1 child; $170,000 for 2 children; $180,000 for 3 children, etc).
The measure will also “allow students to use the financial year prior to their gap year as the year when parental income is assessed. This will provide additional certainty about whether they will meet the parental income limit before taking a gap year. “
The NSSRN supports this measure. This measure acts to enable more regional students to receive support whilst pursuing higher education, recognising the financial barriers that many regional students face.
Recent legislative changes also relaxed the time period over which regional and remote students must demonstrate they have supported themselves (for the purposes of satisfying the definition of independence for Youth Allowance (student)). The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Student Payments) Act 2017 reduced this time period from 18 months to 14 months from 1 January 2018. This measure has also acted to enable more regional students to receive income support in their pursuit of higher education.
In the Budget 2018, the Government has also introduced a number of other budget measures that invest in greater training and employment opportunities for young people in regional areas, as well as additional Commonwealth Supported Places at regional universities.