Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert is urging students to call their local MP or Senator office if Centrelink is not approving student support payments in a reasonable time frame and they are finding themselves unable to pay for basic necessities.
MP and Senate offices have a Centrelink liaison who assist them with constituent enquiries and payment approvals if students have been waiting beyond the estimated completion date.
“Increasingly we are hearing reports of students having to rely on charity services like Anglicare for food or unable to pay rent because Centrelink is taking so long to process their application for student payments like Youth Allowance or Austudy.
“The implications of taking months to approve these payments are dire. Students who should be flourishing are instead being pushed into poverty and potentially homelessness. It is simply not good enough and quite astounding to hear that in some cases students are finishing a whole semester and their claim still hasn’t been processed.
“This is not how our social safety net should be functioning and results in Australians struggling unnecessarily. Students that are in a desperate situation and haven’t heard about whether their claim has been approve beyond the estimated completion date must call their local MP or Senate office and request the process be fast tracked.
“Senate and MP offices have access to a Centrelink liaison who can address urgent enquiries so I urge students to use that service as it is available to them, I fear many students wouldn’t think to call their local MP or Senate office even though we can help and can get focus on that application.
“This is just another example of an under resourced social safety net that is causing harm out in the community. I urge the Government to ensure that students are not waiting an unreasonable amount of time to receive support so they can get through study without unnecessary stress or hardship”.