darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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March 22, 2010

The system of student income support for regional areas should be completely overhauled, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.

Mr Chester has accused the Rudd Labor Government of tinkering around the edges and disadvantaging many regional areas with its changes to Youth Allowance.

He is set to meet with Wellington Youth Shire Council next week and will discuss measures for helping young people achieve their full potential.

“The debate over student income support is far from over,” Mr Chester said.

“Both the Victorian State Parliament and a Federal Senate Inquiry over the past six months have found that more support is needed for students who are forced to move away from home to attend university.

“The Labor Party has refused to acknowledge the additional cost that all regional students face and has created a new system where some students face a more difficult pathway to university than others.

“Since the government announced its proposal the Opposition has been successful in protecting students on their gap year but a complete overhaul of the system is required.”
Mr Chester said he was looking forward to meeting with the Youth Councillors and discussing a range of local issues.

“This is a great opportunity to listen to the young representatives from around the shire, to hear their concerns about issues like Youth Allowance and other services that are required in the region,” Mr Chester said.

“Providing young people with the services and facilities they need to achieve their full potential is an issue that I am passionate about and I’m keen to work with the Youth Council in the future.”

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