Drought-affected farmers ‘choosing which child to remove from boarding schools’ due to hardship

Parents of children in drought-affected areas are having to decide which of their kids to remove from boarding schools due to not being able to afford school fees, the head of a national rural group says.
The federal president of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA), Wendy Hick, told the ABC parents who owned farms in drought-stricken parts of the country were reducing the amount of time their children spent at boarding school because money was tight.
They go out to work, they need to help out on the farm or whatever project or business the family is in, and that could be the end of their secondary schooling."
Ms Tully said boarding school for her children was not a choice.
Ms Tully said if farmers were already receiving Government money through the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) scheme, then in times of farming hardship like drought it should make them automatically eligible for other payments like the Farm Household Allowance (FHA).
Mr Littleproud added that the FHA application had now been reduced to 73 questions, and the Government had provided help to farmers to complete their applications.
Children under pressure to help mum and dad Ms Hick said children who are able to stay in boarding school feel extra pressure.
"If they are away at school they feel that they’re not doing their part, that they should be at home helping mum and dad get through this drought," she said.
Boarding schools ‘trying to help wherever they can’ Ms Tully said boarding schools were usually helpful when they received fee due dates be altered, but said "a number of people take out personal loans to try and cover that".
The ICPA has put a submission to the Federal Government’s review into the Farm Household Allowance.

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