19 March 2024

WA unveils $103.5m package to reduce pressure of school expenses on parents

| James Day
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A family standing together in a backyard with a jungle gym behind them

The WA Premier said the Student Assistance payments would be available through the ServiceWA app from 15 April. To apply, it requires a valid WA Student Number, which can be found on a student’s SmartRider, school report or NAPLAN results. Photo: Roger Cook/Facebook.

Due to cost-of-living pressures, the West Australian (WA) Government has announced a new Student Assistance Payment that will provide hundreds in financial support for families of school-age children.

From the start of Term 2 (15 April), parents will have access to $250 for each secondary student and $150 for each primary student and kindergartener. A total of $103.5 million has been committed to these payments in the 2024-25 State Budget, but all eligible students must be enrolled in a WA public or non-government school, or be registered for home schooling.

Premier Roger Cook said providing such cost-of-living support, and the recent $200 electricity credits for each household, free summer public transport and student travel for school children, was is his top priority.

“Raising my kids in Kwinana, I know it’s those extra costs during the school years that really have an impact – and I hope this support can alleviate some of those pressures,” Premier Cook said.

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”We know interest rates and higher day-to-day costs are putting pressure on WA families, and this initiative will help many families with the costs that come with having school-aged kids.

“It will provide that extra help to pay for a new backpack, school shoes, uniforms, calculators or even food in their kids’ lunchbox.”

Parents and carers are being encouraged by the WA Government to use the coming weeks to set up their ServiceWA account, or to check whether an existing account is still active and linked to their myGovID.

And for those struggling especially, the ongoing Secondary Assistance Scheme (SAS) remains available to eligible low-income families with secondary school children. On top of additional funding to support their child’s education, it provides a $115 clothing allowance for families.

Education Minister Dr Tony Buti said these efforts followed the government’s recent $1.6 billion commitment to fully fund WA public schools alongside the Commonwealth, and a $1.5 billion infrastructure program set to build and upgrade schools across the state.

“Nobody in Western Australia should be left behind in their education,” Dr Buti said. “We want to make sure all students have what they need for school, regardless of their family’s financial situation.

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“The WA Student Assistance Payment is an effective way to pay for the essentials like books and uniforms and still be able to afford important extras like camps and excursions.

“It will reduce the pressure on parents to pay for everything and help every student focus on learning so they can do well in and out of the classroom.”

Those interested must submit a claim by 28 June and be eligible under the government’s terms.

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