JESSICA Parker (not her real name), 21, recently started a paid marketing internship on Sydney’s North Shore. Over the past two years she has been receiving $250 a week in Youth Allowance, the government’s benefit system helping students make ends meet while they study full time, to support her $600 – $800 cash-in-hand nannying job.
On top of making her ineligible for Youth Allowance, her new internship commitment has seen Jessica unable to continue her nannying job, “because [she is] literally exhausted by the end of the day.”
Visibly emotionally and physically wrecked, Jessica comments, “All of my friends are going to do the Greek Islands again this year, and without the Youth Allowance support I won’t be able to afford my ticket. I literally should just quit this internship, it’s ruining my life.”
Jessica says she feels “abandoned by the Government” in the difficult transition she’s making from the pension into full time work. “Some weeks [before the internship] I was able to make more than my brother who’s a graduate lawyer. He had to pay tax and stuff though.”
In Canberra this week, the Senate committee is examining the fairness of the allowance payment system, hearing from a chorus of academics and welfare groups who’ve felt the repercussions of recent cuts for single parents.
On the matter, Jessica only hopes that the voices of other #wanderlust travellers like herself aren’t lost in outcry from the parenting group.
Next up, do you want to know what it REALLY means to be broke?
Or maybe you looking for one?