My electorate of Summer Hill is home to one of the highest number of university students across the State. The 2017 Universities Australia Student Finances Survey revealed that one in seven students regularly forgo food and necessities because they cannot afford them. The report found that almost one-third of students were finding it hard to make ends meet, with full-time students living on as little as $18,000 a year.
Meanwhile, students are struggling with the rising cost of living, which includes climbing transport fares, soaring utility costs and sky-high rents. At the same time, the average cost of an undergraduate degree continues to surge, landing university students with unmanageable debt before their career has really begun.
When I speak with students in my electorate, they regularly raise with me the Federal Government's attacks on penalty rates, on which they rely. I recognise organisations in my electorate like Marrickville Legal Centre which assist students every day as well as student organisations at universities and campuses across the State. I stand with them in their call for a fair deal because students deserve to pursue their education without fear of living in poverty.