Legislative Council Wednesday 3 April, 2019
Ms FORREST QUESTION to the LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
With regard to the Conveyance Allowance Air Travel available to students living on a Bass Strait Island and attending an educationally appropriate school on mainland Tasmania or Australia -
1) What is the current policy;
2) Has the policy changed in the last 5 years and if so, what changes have been made;
3) Is this allowance currently only available to Year 11/12 students;
4) Was the allowance previously available to Year 10 students;
5) Can the allowance be accessed by students attending Independent Schools;
a) If so, what is required for the Independent School to be recognised by the Department of Education; and
6) Are other considerations such as the availability of extended family support for Bass Strait Island students who study at mainland Australia schools taken into account?
1. Under the current policy, a student who lives on a Bass Strait Island is eligible for Conveyance Allowance if:
(a) the student is enrolled in a school recognised by the Department of Education; and
(b) the student is:
(i) in grade 11 or 12; or
(ii) needs to attend an educationally appropriate school which is not available on the Bass Strait Islands.
2. The current policy has not changed. However, an applicant for Conveyance Allowance is required to provide evidence (from third parties) that the student meets each eligibility criterion. This requirement was introduced in 2018. This evidence includes:
(a) to establish that the student is enrolled in a school recognised by the Department of Education:- a letter from the school of enrolment confirming that the student (including date of birth and residential address) is enrolled;
(b) to establish:
(i) that the student is in grade 11 or 12:- the above letter of enrolment confirms that the student is enrolled in grade 11 or 12;
(ii) that the student must attend an educationally appropriate school which is not available on the Bass Straits Islands, then such evidence as:-
- written advice from the Department of Education that the available school on the island does not meet the student’s educational needs and the school of enrolment is appropriate to the child’s needs; and
- a medical report from a medical specialist that the student has a disability which impacts on their educational needs;
- where attendance is required at a school which is aligned with the religious or faith practice of the student’s family, a letter from a church leader such as a parish priest, confirming that the student is a member of the congregation, together with a religious certificate such as baptism or confirmation of the student which reflects the same denomination as the school that the student is attending on mainland Tasmania.
3. No, Conveyance Allowance is also available to a student living on a Bass Strait Island who is able to demonstrate that they must leave the island to attend an appropriate school to meet their educational needs and that need is not able to be met on the island.
4. Conveyance Allowance may have been paid to some grade 10 students in previous years. A grade 10 student may continue to be paid Conveyance Allowance in 2019, if they can demonstrate by providing evidence supported by third parties (such as the Department of Education) that the schools on King Island or Flinders Island do not meet their educational needs.
5. Conveyance Allowance may be paid for a student to attend an Independent School where the applicant provides sufficient evidence supported by third parties (as set out under 2(b)) to establish they meet the eligibility criteria to be paid Conveyance Allowance. For a grade 11 or 12 student, if they are required to leave a Bass Strait island to attend a college, the enrolment in the college is relevant, not whether it is a government or non-government school. A school is taken to be recognised if it is registered as a non-government school and provides the relevant grade of education for the student.
6. When the applicant is able to provide evidence that the student is required to leave a Bass Strait Island as they are in grade 11 or 12 or to meet their specific educational needs, then Conveyance Allowance may be paid to attend a mainland Australian school. For enrolments other than grade 11 or 12 this would depend on the applicant being able to demonstrate that the mainland Australian school is the most appropriate school.