Our family arrived in SA in 2007, bought our own home two years later, have traveled and we really appreciate the opportunities and lifestyle that Australia has had to offer us. 

We have built strong networks of close friends and colleagues as we came on our own to search for adventure and warmer weather. We also wanted to show our children there’s a big wide world out there ready to explore. We have made Australia our home and are especially connected now through our beautiful Aussie/Kiwi grandchildren.  

We knew we weren’t allowed any benefits before arriving and we were fine with that. We had saved money and organised ourselves in case of any hardship. But sooner or later your own safety net will run out. Fortunately we were able to scrape through some tricky times during that settling in period.

As a parent of a large family however there is always that thought in the back of my mind, ‘What if something were to go wrong?’ Even now 6yrs down the track. We’ve done everything we can with regards to insurances etc and we’re ever mindful that we need to be extra cautious with our money, just in case.

We considered it an opportunity to be able to come to Australia without the rigmarole of visas like other migrants need. However, in the time of our arrival laws were still being rewritten with tighter and tighter constraints. 

We have looked into Permanent Residency and Citizenship several times over the years but it just seems to be getting harder and harder. For us there is no opportunity to meet any of the criteria. 

One of our deepest concerns has been that our children have a very limited chance at a higher education. No pathways to students loans or youth allowances. This impacted our decision for two of our older children to leave school in Yr 11 to seek employment. 

It seemed strange to me at the time that the purpose of Youth Allowance was to support and encourage youth to stay in school and get an education yet it became obvious that our NZ children were the only group that were excluded from this wide belief.

I am concerned that not all children are being treated equally and fairly with regards to educational opportunities. Coming from a country that used to practice isolating Maori and Pacific Islanders from a higher education I am very aware of what happens to a minority group that is treated differently. 

I am an educator and understand the effects are not just short term dependency on a Social System but generational.  I believe this is an urgent matter that needs addressing because evidence historically shows that it will only be a matter of time before society starts having to deal with the negative affects of a growing population of youth who are disenfranchised, displaced, singled out, isolated and uneducated. 

Erina Anderson, SA

AuthorErina Anderson