When the 2018 ABSTUDY budget measures they were introduced Indigenous Education & Boarding Australia (IEBA) welcomed them as positive moves. However, an important aspect to support Indigenous families income has still not been legislated. IEBA calls on the Australian Parliament to act now with urgency.
“Whilst the nation’s focus is on closing the Indigenous education gap, without the full 2018 ABSTUDY budget measures the distance will not close,” states Anthony Bennett, Chairperson of Indigenous Education & Boarding Australia.
“We are calling for legislation to be introduced immediately as the government needs to take every measure to stop Indigenous families withdrawing their children from boarding when their Family Tax Benefit income cuts out” states Mr. Bennett.
The loss of Family Tax Benefit Part A benefits to Indigenous families when their child turns 16 years old has created an unintended exit point for students. Families who cannot afford the loss of household income are unfortunately choosing to withdraw their children from boarding schools. This denies many students from remote Australia the opportunity to complete their education.
The Family Tax Benefit Part A amendments were introduced to address anomalies in the implementation of the maintenance income test for ABSTUDY students. This budget measure was to be implementation from 1 January 2020 but legislation is still to be introduced to the parliament.
See full Media Release FTB ABSTUDY media release July 2019