Expanding employment pathways for Indigenous young people 


Portfolio: Education, Science and Training

Why is this important?

  • The measure will remove some of the barriers that currently discourage Indigenous people from taking up tertiary study.
  • Up to 4000 Indigenous students (1000 per annum) enrolled in a bridging or undergraduate course will be able to access financial assistance of $4000 as a one-off payment to assist them with the costs associated with relocating from their remote or rural region to attend university. This assistance will be provided under the Indigenous Access Scholarships component of the measure and will be indexed annually.
  • This measure will also fund an extra year of assistance for 700 Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships and 210 Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships for Indigenous students undertaking higher education bridging courses.
  • The enhanced independence criteria component of the measure will assist ABSTUDY students who have supported themselves through workforce participation for a specified period since leaving school.
  • Extending the ABSTUDY Incidentals Allowance to students undertaking a bridging course at a higher education institution will encourage younger students to undertake preparatory studies and go on to further study.
  • Extending Crisis and Bereavement payment to ABSTUDY recipients will allow students to access these payments, which are currently available to recipients of a social security pension or benefit, for the first time and help keep students engaged in education.

Who will benefit?

  • The Indigenous Access Scholarships will benefit up to 1000 Indigenous students per annum, particularly those relocating from remote or rural regions of Australia, undertaking a bridging or undergraduate course at university.
  • The additional Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships and Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships component will benefit up to 910 Indigenous students undertaking a bridging course.
  • Up to 1000 students who receive an Indigenous Access Scholarship are eligible for a Commonwealth Scholarship to support their education and accommodation costs while undertaking an undergraduate course at university.
  • The enhanced independence workforce criteria will benefit 170 ABSTUDY students who have supported themselves through paid work for periods of 18 months out of any two year period since leaving school.
  • The Incidentals Allowance will now benefit 175 students under 18 years of age undertaking preparatory studies at a higher education institution.
  • Crisis Payment will assist some 500 ABSTUDY recipients over the age of 16 who are experiencing financial hardship due to an unforseen crisis. Bereavement Payment will be available to some 130 ABSTUDY recipients who in the event of the death of a partner will receive the deceased person's payment for a period of time.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • The Australian Government will provide $32.8 million over four years.

What have we done in the past?

  • In the past the Australian Government has offered Commonwealth Learning Scholarships, consisting of Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships and Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships. Although these are not Indigenous-specific scholarships, there is a 20% weighting to Indigenous people.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • This funding will be ongoing.

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