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To: Australian Federal Parliament

Change the Age: Lower the Age of Independence from 22 to 18

Change the Age: Lower the Age of Independence from 22 to 18

Change the Age of Independence from 22 to 18

Why is this important?

The Centrelink Age of Independence for Youth Allowance sits at 22. Young Australians can drink, smoke and drive at the age of 18 but are not considered independent. Even students moving out of home to attend university can be denied access to income support based on a parent or partner's income.

For students in the higher education sector, the global pandemic has meant that students are more vulnerable and poorer than ever before. Students are the victims of the casualised workforce, penalty rate cuts and the shutdown of industries predominantly worked in by young people due to COVID-19. With funding provided by Universities drying up and the Federal Government income support being reconsidered, anyone can see the impending impact on young people. .

The health crisis isn’t over and the economic crisis certainly isn’t over. We should be ensuring that Australia’s future is well protected by investing in young people to be able to live and study and not sending them through the cracks of our welfare system to potential lifetimes of poverty. We need to fund our future.

A liveable wage is essential so students are not skipping meals, going without medication, sleeping rough or couch surfing. Recognising that young people are independents from the age of 18 and the current age of independence makes life incredibly difficult in unstable households and for queer youth.

The Government must act to ensure that means testing is genuine and that we keep students out of poverty.

Arabella Wauchope
National Union of Students (NUS) Welfare Officer

Zoe Ranganathan
NUS President


Reasons for signing

  • When I was 21, in between jobs, I ended up homeless because I unable to access this payment. I refused to put either of my parents up for abuse and neglect investigation when I was an adult just to get support. I couldn't get a job without and address or money or support and it was a cycle. I ended up enrolling in Tafe course I wasn't interested in just so I could get a payment.
  • When I was a student, I lived in a home with two mentally ill parents, which was a huge strain on my mental health. At 22 I was able to move out, and within one semester my average mark increased by 10 percentage points. At 25 I’m now secure and out of home, but I could have had a much happier life years earlier if I had the safety net of youth allowance at 18.
  • living cost for all over 18 is the same, you dont have to pay less for food or rent just coz your under 22, and other costs are the same for all regardless of age, many teens and young people are stuck in places that is not good for them due to being under 22, they deserve as much support as all people, #living income for all


2021-03-05 11:10:57 +1100

10,000 signatures reached

2021-03-04 10:46:16 +1100

5,000 signatures reached

2021-03-04 08:36:39 +1100

1,000 signatures reached

2021-02-27 22:11:57 +1100

500 signatures reached

2021-02-16 22:18:17 +1100

100 signatures reached

2021-02-16 17:09:38 +1100

50 signatures reached

2021-02-15 22:38:43 +1100

25 signatures reached

2021-02-15 19:40:36 +1100

10 signatures reached