‘Generous’ Youth Payments Pass Parliament
17 November 2015 at 8:58 am
A Turnbull Government plan to remove youth welfare testing for families has received the backing of The Greens.
Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, received support from both sides of politics for his Bill that aimed to ensure more generous means testing for youth payments.
With the Bill successfully passed by Parliament, the Family Assets Test and the Family Actual Means Test will be removed from the Youth Allowance Personal Test from 1 January 2016.
Porter said it was a win for families who were supporting children currently studying or training.
“Removing the assets test will allow thousands more people to qualify for an average annual youth payment of more than $7,000 a year,” Porter said.
“Thousand more students will benefit from the removal of the means test – they will either receive Youth Allowance for the first time or, if they’re already receiving it, receive $2000 more each year.
“Regional and rural families often face higher costs when their children are studying or training because they have to move away from home. These changes mean those families will no longer have their farm assets counted toward the means test.”
Porter said overall the changes to the means testing meant 33,000 families would be better off.
“13,700 families with dependent children will receive an increase of about $1,118 per year, and about 5,800 families will for the first time become eligible for a payment of about $1,300 per year,” he said.
“Child support payments will also be removed from the parental income test, meaning 3,800 families will enjoy an extra $900 a year.
“These changes are great news for families and students. We want to encourage them to study and train toward the career of their choice so they can contribute to our economy.”
Greens Senator, Rachel Siewert, said the party supported the Government’s Bill under the condition that it be reviewed after two years.
“The key concern raised during the inquiry was that removing the family and personal asset tests for Youth Allowance for dependent young people could enable wealthy families to manage their wealth so as to access a payment intended for lower income families,” Senator Siewert said.
“Due to this key concern, the Greens put forward a second reader amendment that recommended a review of the effect of these measures be carried out in two years.”
Siewert said despite the good intentions of the Bill, there were still inadequacies within the Youth Allowance Payment.
“A $50 increase for young people on Youth Allowance will ensure a fairer system and better indexation will help maintain the value of an increase into the future,” she said.
“We have long called for this increase and introduced a Private Member’s Bill in 2013 to increase this payment, as well as Newstart.
“The Australian Greens believe increasing the payment amount should be an urgent priority for the Government. We will continue to push for this increase.”