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Turner: Can you live on $8/week?

Media statement
For immediate release
Friday, 25 January 2008

Turner: Can you live on $8/week?

UnitedFuture education spokesperson Judy Turner says a new survey is showing the average student is now left with only $8 a week with which to feed themselves from their student loan for living costs,

“We would not expect any other group in society to survive on a loan of $150 a week, with average accommodation costs at $142 per week. But two-thirds of students are only eligible for a loan of $150 - which they have to pay back,” she says.

“The Government seems happy to just sit and watch while thousands of students are essentially battling poverty while trying to study towards their degrees.

“Labour proudly reintroduced income related rents where tenants pay no more than 25% of their income for state houses.

“The US Department of Housing also warns that those ‘who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened and may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation and medical care’.

“But students are paying up to 90% of their income for rent, and forced to get bank loans, overdrafts and credit cards simply to eat. They are getting a raw deal and being set up for a lifetime of debt before their first job.

“UnitedFuture won an agreement to improve access to student allowances under the confidence and supply agreement, and are pushing hard to raise the levels of students support for living costs.

“It’s not fair the conditions we are placing on our students – and it’s not OK,” says Mrs Turner.

ENDS

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