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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

  • Many young people are forced to be independent by age 18 and need support as they move into the adult world.
  • Desperately needed youth allowance when I was 18-19 to escape an increaingly abusive household, but had no access because i was classed as a dependent, meaning that any allowance i could have gotten depended on the collective income of the very people i was trying to escape. My parents are relatively well-off, but obviously i would have access to none of their money if i ran. Young adults need to be able to escape dangerous living situations asap, and so they need independence.
  • 22 feels like an arbitrary age designed to restrict access by undergraduate students. How can young people have the confidence to leave when their income is tied to their parents?


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