FEDERAL Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said the Abbott Coalition Government will introduce more generous means testing arrangements for youth payments from 1 January 2016 to give New England Electorate families better opportunities to support their children from school to further study.
“The Coalition Government will remove the Family Asset Test and Family Actual Means Test from the Youth Allowance Parental Income Test. This 2015-16 Budget measure ensures the assessment of a young person’s access to Youth Allowance will be based on a fairer measure of family income than the current system,” Mr Joyce said.
“Removing the Family Asset Test will allow families with dependent children in the New England Electorate to qualify for Youth Allowance for the first time and access average annual payments of more than $7,000 a year.
“The removal of the Family Actual Means Test will also see more families with dependent children receive Youth Allowance for the first time and increased payments for some existing students in the New England Electorate by approximately $2,000 a year.
“The changes exempt farming families in the New England Electorate from having their farm assets count toward the Family Asset Test for assessing Youth Allowance.
“From 1 July 2016 we will also be changing Youth Allowance parental income testing arrangements to include all Family Tax Benefit children in the family pool. The current test only includes dependent children over 16.
This will see:
• Some working families in the New England Electorate with dependent children in both the Family Tax Benefit and youth payment systems eligible for an average increase in payment of $43 per fortnight ($1,118 per annum);
• Some New England Electorate families who currently miss out on youth payments due to higher taper rates will be eligible for an average payment of around $50 per fortnight ($1,300 per annum).
“Simplifying the parental means tests will provide additional assistance for working families in the New England Electorate to support their children making the transition from school to further study.
“These changes are great news for New England Electorate families, boosting the number of families we assist, the level of that assistance, encouraging more young people into study to build their careers, develop economic opportunities, and contribute to our economy,” Mr Joyce said.