THE WA Isolated Children¹s Parents Association (ICPA) has called on the Federal Government to change

21 Mar, 2007 08:45 PM
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In this case the isolated students have to wait for 18 months and earn $18,000 before being eligible for the independent allowance.

ICPA (WA) immediate past president Jeanette De Landgrafft said city students had an advantage because they did not have to leave home to study at university.

Mrs De Landgrafft said students in remote and isolated areas could get a job in the 18 months before university, which could deter planned tertiary studies.

³They work and get used to earning money so then it becomes hard to go back and study,² She said.

³A lot don¹t go back or mum and dad go and pay for them.

³What we want is something similar to an Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) allowance where if you don¹t have access to a university or a TAFE, students will get a living away from home allowance to access tertiary education.

³We are not wanting any more than what the students in the city are getting.

³They¹ve got a house because mum and dad live in the city so they can live with mum and dad, and while some of them don¹t choose to, we don¹t have a choice.

³So a lot of isolated parents are paying for the board and moving.

³Kids in the country don¹t have a choice, they go to the city or just don¹t do it.²

During the state ICPA conference in Perth last week, the Hyden branch put forward several motions calling for the federal ICPA to lobby for a fairer tertiary access allowance for remote and rural students.

Rosy Sinclair, Varley, who supported a Hyden Branch motion calling for a non-means tested tertiary access allowance, said her daughter was studying full time nursing in Perth while working full time in a nursing home.

³She didn¹t want to ask us for money so she is working 35 hours a week so no wonder she is having trouble getting her assignments in,² Mrs Sinclair said.

Meanwhile, the Meekatharra branch has called on the State Government to broaden its boarding away-from-home allowance to include students from rural and remote areas who had to leave home to access tertiary education.

Natalie Broad, Milli Milli and Beringarra stations, said a much lower percentage of rural students completed tertiary studies compared to students from urban areas.

³We believe a contributing factor is the very high cost of relocation to access tertiary studies,² Mrs Broad said.

³The cost of rent, fuel and food has continued to increase and to cover these costs students are forced to rely more and more on their families for financial assistance as well as seeking longer part-time work hours.²

Mrs Broad said the burden of increased work hours and study had been too much for many students who had decided to cease their tertiary studies.

³The extension of the state boarding allowance to include students undergoing tertiary studies would be a help to these students,² Mrs Broad said.

Federal ICPA president Jack Beach said he understood the motions calling for a more fairy tertiary access for remote and isolated children but said it was no easy task convincing the relevant politicians in Canberra of its importance.

But he was sure the Federal ICPA had a formula that could be approved by federal bureaucrats and the relevant minister.

³On the tertiary access allowance we do believe we may be able to get some traction on that in a lead up to the next election,² Mr Beach said.

He said the wording in one of the ICPA (WA) motions which included ³...must leave home to access their tertiary education...² had to be clearly defined.

³Because if every child can establish they must live away from home for whatever reason to access tertiary education, then quite frankly the isolated kids will miss out because the political powers will never be able to afford it,² he said.

³The number of people who would put their hand up for it would be phenomenal.

³I think we have got our minds around the tertiary access allowance.

³We do know what we want and we will be doing our level best to have it implemented by the coming government, whoever it might be.

³If we can get some political powers to listen to it is looking okay.

³It¹s shaping up to be a good election for lobbying.²

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