Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) commends the Federal Government’s announcement yesterday of urgent relief for the thousands of young people on Newstart (now known as Jobseeker Payment) and Youth Allowance, with the Temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 to be added to fortnightly payments.

YACVic also commends the Federal Government for reducing the usual waiting period and removing means testing to fast-track newly unemployed and underemployed people, including casual workers.

However, YACVic has two serious concerns. First, students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY will miss out on the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement. Second, young disabled people will not have their Disability Support Pension increased at all, leaving them below the income support level provided to others.

UPDATED 24 March: Students on Youth Allowance will be eligible for the $550 supplement, and will receive two separate $750 payments. 

“The announcement over the weekend acknowledges the rates of Jobseeker Allowance and Youth Allowance are inadequate to live on. We are pleased to see this temporary increase and call on the government to raise the rate permanently, and ensure young people can cover their basic essential needs,” says Katherine Ellis, CEO of Youth Affairs Council Victoria.

“It is also unacceptable that students on Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY, and disabled young people will not receive this relief. We call on the Federal Government to include these groups now.

“Students need more than $40 a day to pay rent and essential bills. They should not miss out for being students.

“Young disabled people also will require extra relief. The disruption of support workers, services and supplies that are essential to their health and wellbeing means it is crucial that young disabled people have the means to access additional support.

“This is particularly important as only 10% of disabled people have access to NDIS packages. It is vital that the government supports young disabled people in an equitable manner that ensures their human rights are upheld.

“Every young person deserves to be properly supported in these extraordinarily difficult times, to afford rent, pay for essentials and access the services they need.”

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Media contact:

Thomas Feng, YACVic Media and Communications Manager, 043128527. Katherine Ellis, YACVic CEO is available for further comment.

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.