Government urged to drop six-month wait on Newstart

A SENATE committee has urged the Abbott government to drop its planned six-month wait for those applying for Newstart payments.

The report from the Labor-Greens majority committee also recommended the government maintain the age of eligibility at 22 for the dole payment.

While the government reached a deal last year with Labor on some of its welfare reforms, it is yet to pass changes to the waiting period for Newstart payments revealed in last year's budget.

The Senate committee considered a raft of "budget cuts", recommending the six-month wait be dropped; funding for Youth Connections be reinstated, and "keep the promise made not to cut education funding".

The committee wrote the changes seemed to be a "short-term approach aimed at saving money" that did not consider the effects on "the most vulnerable in the community".

However, a dissenting report from government senators on the committee argued the changes were "modest" and "focus on supporting those most in need".

The government is expected to respond to the report later this year.


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