Students are struggling to get by. This government has abandoned students to face the high cost of living and the extreme stress just by themselves. As a former academic I have firsthand experience of the sacrifices that students make to study, including working up to four jobs just to make ends meet. It is deeply distressing that one in four students experiences food insecurity, and it is outrageous that they regularly go without food and other necessities.
Students should be able to focus on learning, not on where their next meal is coming from. The government must urgently increase student support payments and fully fund mental health services, to give students the support that they need and they deserve.
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the Higher Education Accommodation and Financial Stress Survey released on 8 July 2019 found that more than half of students reported high to very high levels of psychological distress and say that their studies are impacted by financial stress,
(ii) many students regularly go without food and other necessities while they study, with a quarter of surveyed students experiencing food insecurity, and
(iii) students should be able to focus on learning, not on where their next meal is coming from; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) make TAFE and university education free for all,
(ii) urgently increase student payments, such as Youth Allowance by at least $75 a week, and
(iii) properly fund mental health services to give students the support they need and deserve.