Social services urge against dole wait for jobless youth

AS THE Abbott government sets about remaking its budget, the nation's social services council has urged all non-government politicians to vote against a key plank of its welfare strategy.

The Australian Council of Social Service called on Senate crossbenchers and the Opposition to "stand their ground" on last year's budget proposal to cut dole payments to young people for six months.

Social Services Minster Scott Morrison said he was considering the proposal and that all last year's budget measures remained on the table. However the six-month wait for Newstart payments for jobseekers aged 30 or younger has created much concern in government ranks, especially for those in marginal seats with high youth unemployment.

While The Greens, Labor and independent senators Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Nick Xenophon oppose the policy, ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie was still worried the measure could reappear this year.

She said the council was "deeply alarmed the government appears intent" on pursuing it; asking how those deprived of income support for six months would be able to get a job.

"This proposal in particular would have a brutal impact on people's lives if implemented," she said.

Dr Goldie was concerned that due to the focus on a raft of other budget measures, the six-month wait policy would be forgotten.

She said with youth unemployment reaching more than 20% in some regions, "a serious plan backed by both employers and the community" was needed.



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