Cost-of-living support for teaching, nursing and social work students

THE HON JASON CLARE MP
MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
MINISTER FOR SKILLS AND TRAINING

The Albanese Government will establish a Commonwealth Prac Payment to support students undertaking mandatory workplace placements required for university and vocational education and training qualifications.

Australians studying to be a teacher, a nurse, a midwife or a social worker will be eligible for this payment.

This month’s Budget will focus on easing cost-of-living pressure on Australians, combatting inflation and laying foundations for future growth in our economy and our labour force.

This new payment will provide around 68,000 eligible higher education students and over 5,000 VET students each year with $319.50 per week during their clinical and professional placement periods.

Benchmarked to the single Austudy per week rate, this payment will provide cost-of-living relief for many students. It will be means-tested and available from 1 July 2025 and will be in addition to any income support a student may also receive.

The Government will work with the higher education and vocational education sectors to introduce and deliver this new support.

The introduction of this payment acts on the advice of the Universities Accord and the Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce.

Paid placements will help ease the care and teaching workforce skills shortages identified in the Government’s Employment White Paper and assist more students to commence and complete their studies.

With the majority of students and workers in these critical care fields being women, the payment also helps implement the Government’s gender equality strategy, Working for Women. The payment will also help support the pipeline of social workers available to support those affected by family, domestic and sexual violence.

This is part of the first stage of reforms the Albanese Government will implement in response to the Universities Accord and builds on our reforms to make the HELP system fairer.

Quotes attributable to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese:

“Teachers give our children the best start in life, they deserve a fair start to their career.

“We’re proud to be backing the hard work and aspiration of Australians looking to better themselves by studying at university.

“We’re funding support for placements so our future nurses, teachers and social workers can gain the experience they need.

“We’re making HECS fairer so no-one is held back by student debt.

“And we’re expanding access to university in our regions and suburbs to make sure no Australian is left behind.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Jason Clare:

“This will give people who have signed up to do some of the most important jobs in this country a bit of extra help to get the qualifications they need.

“This is practical support for practical training.

“Placement poverty is a real thing. I have met students who told me they can afford to go to uni, but they can’t afford to do the prac.

“Some students say prac means they have to give up their part-time job, and that they don’t have the money to pay the bills.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training, Brendan O’Connor:

“This Prac payment is in addition to the Government’s investment in Fee-Free TAFE which is supporting thousands to gain Division 2 nursing qualifications and helping to address skills shortages in aged and health care.

“This is an additional payment to support nursing TAFE students who have extra costs such as uniforms, travel, temporary accommodation or child care, during mandatory clinical placements.

“We are making it more accessible for people right across the country for people to get the skills they need to attain jobs in areas of high demand.”