Uni students on the Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy will now receive the government’s $550 coronavirus supplement.
The fortnightly payment was previously only confirmed for those on Newstart, the parenting payment and similar payments.
On Monday night, a last-minute amendment to the government’s $66 billion coronavirus stimulus passed through parliament, paving the way for over 230,000 full-time students to receive the payment.
#BREAKING – Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy will now be included in the Coronavirus Supplement!!
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) March 23, 2020
The decision comes after the National Union of Students (NUS), the Greens and Labor lobbied the government to extend the coronavirus supplement to students.
“Yesterday it took hours of convincing people that this was an issue, and because of students standing up for what’s right and fair, we’ve won!” said NUS President Molly Willmott in a tweet.
Huge! Yesterday it took hours of convincing people that this was an issue, and because of students standing up for what’s right and fair weve won! This is going to ensure thousands of students are able to survive in this crisis. Proud ???? #RaiseTheRateForAll pic.twitter.com/ZbvKgKH1ur
— Molly Willmott (@NUS_President) March 23, 2020
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann confirmed on Monday night that students will be eligible for the supplement.
He explained that social services minister Anne Ruston now has the power to change eligibility by regulation, meaning future amendments to the payment will not have to pass through parliament, which is not due to sit again until at least August in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“The government will amend social security law to allow the Minister for Families and Social Services to make changes to the relevant legislation via legislative instrument,” he said.
“This power will allow the government to act with the utmost flexibility in the unprecedented circumstances we are experiencing in respect of the coronavirus outbreak.”
Part-time students will not be eligible for the payment.
Image: AAP / Paul Miller