Expand stimulus package to support ALL students and ongoing support for Health Students!

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As of this morning, the Australian government has increased the amount of financial support for jobseekers, but has left behind students - students who will be critical to the work force in the years to come. The government has openly said they will be putting student nurses (the 20,000 available) on the front lines to fight this virus, as well as other health students. These same students are expected to live off little to no income while living out of home and being fully independent. In order to survive each week, we have casual jobs with lack of security and minimal hours available. These minimal hours then become non-existent due to having to attend physically and mentally demanding full time placement WITHOUT pay. 

University students are adults with the same needs. How can one group of individuals live off such a small amount of money, but another can't?

In addition to this, the eligibility criteria for youth allowance/low income support is very restricting. There are students struggling to live off less than the full student payment already because they don't meet the appropriate criteria, let alone if you're in a relationship to which more is then deducted. The total amount that 2 people in a relationship can earn a fortnight receiving youth allowance is $1,200 before they become ineligible. This even includes those who's partners are on apprentice or very low income wages. After rent, utilities, transport and miscellaneous everyday needs are paid for, there is very little allowance left to afford food. Personally I would say food is an essential?

Not all students have financial support from parents and their partners, nor should they have to rely on them for support. We are our own person and should be treated as individuals with individual incomes. The government keeps preaching that they will have 20,000 student nurses at their disposal, but my question is, how will this be if we can't manage to stay afloat until graduation? 

For the students and people that fall outside of the categories currently being boosted by the government, as well as those who fall out of the eligibility criteria entirely for financial support, we need support too. We are drowning. 

We propose that:

  • the government provides a basic income to health students who are undertaking placement to assist in this pandemic,
  • that the eligibility restrictions of combined income for youth allowance recipients be eased,
  • those eligible for youth allowance support also receive the Covid-19 supplement (regardless of studying faculty).

By implementing these changes in such a trying time, students won't feel the financial pressure to withdraw from studies and seek alternate support through full time employment. In doing so, we will have more graduating nurses and other health professionals on the front lines when they're needed most. 

Scott Morrison said everyone will have to make sacrifices in such a crisis, but how can you help others if you can't help yourself?