Federal Current Issues

13th May, 2018

Briefing Papers April 2018

This briefing paper identifies the major issues facing educating rural and remote children and covers:

  • Accessing affordable early childhood learning
  • Recognition of the financial impact on families who must provide a distance education tutor
  • Communication issues
  • Urgent financial assistance is required to overcome the unsustainable costs associated with accessing boarding school education
  • Financial assistance required to help with education costs during periods of long-term drought
  • Affordable pathways to accessing tertiary studies
Briefing Papers April 2018

13th May, 2018

Access to Compulsory Education - Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Allowance Position Paper

The Federal Government has recently committed funding for geographically isolated children which includes an increase to the Additional Boarding Allowance. ICPA recommends that utilisation of the balance of this funding includes assisting geographically isolated children through the AIC Distance Education, Basic Boarding and Second Home Allowances.

In an effort to attract and retain staff in rural and remote locations, some employers offer their staff a financial contribution towards educational expenses of their children. However, these payments incur a fringe benefits tax which negatively impacts the intent of the contribution.

  • Exemption from Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) - Employers Assisting with Educational Costs for Employees
  • Exemption from Fringe Benefits Tax – Schools/boarding facilities providing accommodation for staff

Position Paper 2018 -- Access to Compulsory Education Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Allowance

13th May, 2018

Communications Position Paper

ICPA (Aust) requests assurance that rural and remote students experiencing phone or internet outages and faults will be attended to as a matter of urgency.

ICPA (Aust) requests the government to investigate a rural and remote dedicated call centre for landline and data needs of rural and remote users.

ICPA (Aust) requests that the Education Port Service be expanded to include tertiary students, students at rural schools and boarding students who use the Sky Muster service for assignments, assessments, research and education when at home.

ICPA (Aust) requests that the USO remain on landline telephony services for those living outside of mobile coverage areas and that these landline services are maintained and upgraded as necessary.

Position Paper 2018 -- Communications

13th May, 2018

Distance Education Position Paper

For many young people living in remote regions, their only access to education is to study by distance education. While distance education services are well structured and distance education centres ably staffed, it is clear that distance education provision is founded on the assumption that all children have ready access to a person able to teach the program in the geographically isolated classroom.

ICPA requests that the Federal Government introduce a Distance Education Teaching Allowance in financial recognition of the essential work distance education tutors perform.

Position Paper 2018 -- Distance Education

13th May, 2018

Early Childhood Position Paper

This position paper covers:

  • Universal Access to Early Childhood Education

  • Mobile Playgroups Services in rural and remote areas

    ICPA (Aust) recommends that the Federal Government ensures that Mobile Early Childhood Services in rural and remote areas continue to be supported in their transition so that funding for these services is secure beyond July 2018.

  • Extension to the AIC Allowance for 4 year olds

    ICPA recommends that the Federal Government address the financial inequity facing rural and remote families needing to access an early childhood program through distance education. Equity can be achieved by extending the AIC scheme to include four-year-old students taking part in distance education early childhood learning programs.

  • In Home Care recommendations
  • Working Holiday Maker Program

    ICPA (Aust) recommends that the lack of distance education tutors and nannies be addressed by the provision of Working Visa changes allowing for governesses, nannies and distance education supervision to be included in the list of TSS approved occupations.

Position Paper 2018 - Early Childhood

13th May, 2018

Rural Hardship Education Fund Position Paper

Geographically isolated children should not be disadvantaged or unable to attend their studies at boarding school due to ongoing long-term droughts or times of rural hardship. Educational expenses are an investment for the future prosperity of all our rural and remote communities and ICPA (Aust) urges the Federal Government to assist rural families in educating their children in these tough times. While 5,211 students received the AIC Boarding Allowance in 2017, the number impacted by long-term drought and needing Rural Hardship Educational Assistance at any one time would be considerably less.

Position Paper 2018 -- Rural Hardship Education Fund

13th May, 2018

Specific Learning Needs Position Paper

This position paper covers:

  • Provision of Medicare rebate for telehealth services

That an equivalent Medicare rebate be provided to families in rural and remote locations who need to use telehealth clinicians for children with development difficulties under the 'Chronic Diseases Management Scheme' and similar item numbers, to those who have in-person consultations.

  • Improved Staff Training for Teachers in Rural and Remote Locations

That teachers in rural and remote schools, including distance education teachers and distance education supervisors are provided training to recognise and cater for specific learning needs, including dyslexia.

That universities that provide teacher training include modules such as Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Dyslexia in their curriculum.

  • Workshops for rural and remote parents of gifted students

That the Federal Government provide funding for the delivery of workshops for parents of gifted students living in rural and remote areas.

  •  Early identification and intervention for learning difficulties

That the Federal Government ensures all rural and remote students have access to early identification and intervention for learning difficulties.

  • Provision of Additional Resources to Boarding Schools for Students with Disability

That additional resources are provided to facilities, including boarding schools, where student requirements have been clearly identified on the NCCD database.

Position Paper 2018 - Specific Learning Needs

13th May, 2018

School Travel Position Paper

Due to geographic isolation, many rural and remote families need to travel large distances in order to access not only education and learning experiences, but also specialist assistance. ICPA (Aust) currently has lobbies which affect both

  • Regional airfares
  •  Roads
Position Paper 2018 -- School Travel

13th May, 2018

Tertiary - Tertiary Access Allowance Position Paper

ICPA requests that the Federal Government introduce a Tertiary Access Allowance as financial assistance to rural and remote students who must live away from home to access tertiary education.

The dependent Youth Allowance (YA) parental income limit also needs revisiting- $52,706 (2016-17 tax year-value used for current year).

The independent YA parental income limit for rural and remote students is $150,000. If rural and remote students are classified independent, their parental income should not be taken into account.

Position Paper 2018 -- Tertiary Education -Tertiary Access Allowance