Flexibility Key to Learn or Earn Compact

1 May 2009

“Training and education programs can open doors for people of all ages, and the Compact will help many young Australians improve their skills and ability to find employment,” Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service. “No one wants to see a generation of young people lost to unemployment and training programs can be part of the answer.”

“Important to the success of the Compact will be flexibility in addressing the individual needs of young Australians. It should not be a one-size fits all approach.”

“We will be looking closely at the Youth Allowance conditions so that disadvantaged young Australians are not unfairly penalised by having their payments withheld and face greater hardship. Some young people – those with mental illnesses, or homeless people for instance – need ongoing training and mentoring that suits their circumstances.”

ACOSS is also urging the Government to lift the Youth Allowance payment in the Budget.

“Currently a major disincentive for people on Newstart to undertake training and improve their chances of getting a job is the loss of income they face when moving to the Youth Allowance payment.

Youth Allowance is $40 per week less than Newstart. It should be simple – whether working or studying people should be on the same payment.

We are calling on the Government to fix this anomaly and lift the Youth Allowance to the same rate as Newstart in the Budget.”

Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155