The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has today welcomed the ACT Government's announcement of the expansion of the Future of Education Equity Fund to replace the Secondary Bursary Scheme. The Equity Fund provides one-off payments to support vulnerable Canberra families to cover the costs of education expenses including school uniforms, excursions, equipment and extra curriculars.
The payments to eligible financially disadvantaged families, are:
- $400 for pre-schoolers
- $500 for primary school students
- $750 for high school and college students.
ACTCOSS Chief Executive Officer, Dr Emma Campbell said: “We welcome the ACT Government’s follow through on commitments to educational equity through support of vulnerable students.
“Rising cost of living in the ACT has resulted in an increasing number of Canberrans living in financial disadvantage. With more than 38,000 Canberrans living below the poverty, including 9,000 children, there is an urgent need for investments to ensure equitable outcomes for our community.
“Given that the cost of education has increased by 17% in the ACT over the last five years, ACTCOSS is supportive of any targeted investment that can assist Canberra families facing disadvantage.
Dr Campbell continued: “‘Whilst we welcome the Equity Fund as a starting point, ACTCOSS has been consistently calling on the ACT Government to conduct a full review of all targeted concessions. The ACT Government must ensure that concessions are adequate and specifically targeted to need.
“We also call on the Australian Government to raise the rate of JobSeeker Payments to at least $70 a day and increase other key income support payments to ensure that everyone can cover the cost of essentials during difficult times.
“We look forward to seeing further work to address increasing inequality and disadvantage in the ACT and across the country,” Dr Campbell concluded.
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.