Canberra trip rebate under review for Kangaroo Island students

Canberra trip rebate under review for Kangaroo Island students

The government rebate that helps offset the costs of Kangaroo Island students visiting Canberra will be reviewed this year, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie has learned.

After raising the issue of increasing the “inequitable” rebate for island students in Federal Parliament late last year, the NXT MP recently received a letter from Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham stating that the funding model was being investigated nationally and Kangaroo Island was being looked at as an individual example.

“I was really pleased to see Senator Birmingham note in his letter that he would ensure the general review of the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER) this year would look ‘specifically’ at the special circumstances facing Kangaroo Island students wanting to visit our nation’s capital,” Ms Sharkie said.

“PACER provides between $20 and $260 per student to schools outside Canberra to subside this important educational trip but under the current funding model Kangaroo Island students only receive $60, the same amount as a student living in Adelaide

“This is despite the fact they have no choice but to take a ferry trip to reach the main land and therefore their journey is longer and more expensive than their mainland counterparts and the rebate they receive is inequitable.

“Tasmanian students receive an extra rebate for air and sea travel because of their geographical circumstances and I believe the same consideration should be applied to Kangaroo Island.

“The Government cannot make adjustments for every individual school in South Australia due to special circumstances but Kangaroo Island’s extra transport costs are based on geography and cannot be avoided.”

Ms Sharkie has asked Senator Birmingham’s office to provide her with a timeline for the review and to advise her of the outcome.

More than 19,000 schools have visited Canberra since 2006.

Last year on November 10 the one millionth student visited Parliament House. She was Isabella Jenke from St Francis de Sales College in Mt Barker.

The PACER program has contributed more than $46 million in rebates.