Four Week Wait for Welfare
Monday, 18th May 2015 at 10:37 am
Welfare organisations have welcomed a major backdown by the Abbott Government that would have forced young people to wait six months for financial assistance, but some say that the new waiting period is still too long.
In last week’s Budget it was revealed that the Government would no longer expect people under the age of 25 to attempt to “earn or learn” for six months to be eligible for welfare assistance.
Instead the Government announced that the waiting period would be reduced to four weeks.
“A new four week waiting period for under 25 year olds will set the clear expectation that young people must make every effort to maximise their chances of successfully obtaining work,” a Government statement said.
But Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said the revised waiting period would still leave young people “out in the cold”.
“At the very least we call for an exemption for those young people leaving care who are currently homeless, or coming out of a youth justice facility,” McDonald said.
“It is both unreasonable and unsafe to expect that a young person not residing at home is still required to wait four weeks for income relief.”
McDonald said young Australians needed more hope and encouragement not hardship and obstacles from the Federal Government.
“We are further concerned by the lack of movement in the levels of Youth Allowance and the access to affordable modes of housing given that 45 per cent of those who are homeless in Australia are aged under 25,” he said.
However, the Government said it was working to boost small business and youth employment.
“The Jobs and Small Business package will deliver the conditions that help small businesses grow and create jobs.” the statement said.
“The package also helps job seekers, particularly young people and older Australians, access the skills and opportunities they need to get these jobs.
“The package will make it easier for employers to take on job seekers by simplifying work experience arrangements and introducing greater flexibility into wage subsidy payment arrangements.
“New measures will provide intensive support for disengaged young people that will build their employability and help maximise their chances of finding a job.
“Support for vulnerable job seekers will help disadvantaged young people with mental health concerns and young migrants into sustainable work.”