Government policies driving youth into poverty

More than half a million young people could need emergency assistance to pay for food and shelter because of the proposed changes to unemployment benefits for those under 30. The Brotherhood of St Laurence has warned it may lead to a ‘catastrophe’.

Welfare groups providing assistance with vouchers for food, transport or medications, parcels of food or household goods, clothing or by helping to pay rent or utility bills will be faced with a crisis to meet the increased demand.

With youth unemployment on the north coast running at 11.3% we can expect these changes to hit hard and deep in our local community.

Not only will welfare services be pushed to the limit, but many young people may become homeless because of the draconian measures announced. The measures include having to wait six months before becoming eligible for unemployment benefits.

What is strange is that rather than assisting young people off welfare and into the workforce through proven training and support programs this government is digging them further into a cycle of poverty and welfare dependance. Pure madness. We can do a lot better than this.

Byron Shire Cr Paul Spooner


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