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No evidence four week wait for young jobless will help: AASW

Published: 27 September 2016

The legislation that would see unemployed people aged under-25 wait four weeks before being eligible for welfare will further entrench poverty, according to the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

As it did the last time this measure was put before parliament, the AASW is urging all politicians to accept that to achieve good policy outcomes the rates of allowances must be raised to just and humane levels that keep young people out of poverty.

President, Professor Karen Healy AM, says one of the best ways to assist young people out of poverty is to help them achieve meaningful full-time employment.

“The federal government’s proposed legislation will not help achieve this aim and its approach should be abandoned,” said Professor Healy.

“There is no research to prove that increasing waiting times is an effective incentive. The approach is punitive and will disadvantage an already vulnerable group, and will force even more people into destitution.”

Professor Healy says paying allowances at destitution levels adversely impacts on the young person’s quality of life and can negatively impact job seeking and educational participation.

“The current rates of Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy are simply too low. They are not fulfilling either of their functions of preventing people falling into chronic poverty, nor are they an effective incentive to assist people to achieve paid employment,” Professor Healy said.

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers