Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]

GOVERNMENT SUPPORTS LOCKS YOUNG PEOPLE OUT

July 28, 2021

Young people who usually survive on a mix of paid work, study and Youth Allowance, have been left earning less than their weekly rent under the current lockdown because they are ineligible for the COVID-19 disaster payment, Federal Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman has said.

 

Ms Templeman has called on the Morrison Government to ensure part-time and casual workers receiving social security part payments aren’t left behind.

 

“Students can ordinarily earn a modest income and receive Youth Allowance at the same time, which allows them to pay the rent, put food on the table, and pay their bills,” Ms Templeman said.

 

“But under the current rules, anyone receiving a social security part payment like Youth Allowance is not eligible to claim the Covid-19 disaster payment, which supports those who have lost work hours in the lockdown.

 

“That means students who work in industries like retail and hospitality, and as labourers, have seen their hours and incomes plummet, yet can’t claim for those lost hours.

 

“It’s leading to a desperate situation for many of our younger community members starting out in the workforce.”

 

Twenty-year-old Hawkesbury youth work student, Eric Beech, has seen his hours working in a retail chain drop so drastically that he now earns less than his $170 weekly rent.

 

“My hours dropped from more than 20 a week to an average of seven,” Mr Beech said.

 

“I rent my own place and it’s $170 a week on top of expenses. Sometimes I only make about $150 a week. I had been living off what I saved, but it’s pretty much gone at this point.

 

“I went to apply for the disaster payment and it said when you get Youth Allowance, you’re not eligible. So now I’m not able to get any kind of help at all.

 

“I really think it needs to be changed, not just for students like me but for families that are ineligible and can’t access that payment. It’s a pretty tough time for a lot of people right now, people are losing hours right across the board.

 

“I’m lucky I can get some work, at least. There’s others with no work at all.”

 

Ms Templeman said other part-time and casual workers – such as those receiving parenting payments as well as aged pensioners - were in the same situation.

 

“I am also being told that 16-year-old apprentices are not eligible for the disaster payment, because it only applies to 17 year olds, and that’s also unfair – if you’re working and studying full time, it shouldn’t matter what your age is,” Ms Templeman.

 

“There is a level of desperation in this wave of the pandemic that we haven’t seen, particularly because JobKeeper is no longer available. All of the food charities I have spoken to locally say the demand is high, including from people who’ve not previously needed to reach out for help.
 
“There is simply no reason why the Morrison Government doesn’t extend the support to these groups, including young people, during a pandemic, except its own meanness,” Ms Templeman said. 
 
“This lockdown has been extremely tough for our entire community, and no one who has had their hours cut down so drastically shouldn’t be penalised and left behind because of it.”