The Gov’t Snuck In Massive Cuts To Youth Welfare In A Childcare Reform Bill

It’s pretty easy for young people to go without income for a month, right?
Especially at the exact time when, as an unemployed person under 25, they’re looking for help from our social safety net. Presumably to, y’know, survive and all that.
This is the reasoning of the Liberal Party of Australia, who have snuck some rather devastating and seemingly self-defeating policies into their newest welfare reforms.
Announced earlier today by Minister for Social Services and noted fan of Centrelink’s totally fine, Senate Inquiry-warranting debt recovery systemChristian Porter, the reforms come as part of a single “(Omnibus) Bill” that combines a bunch of stalled and revised welfare measures.
The bill would save the government $3.8 billion over four years and extend their Paid Parental Leave scheme; as a sweetener, they’ll also soften their proposed cuts to family tax benefits. How could Labor, if they really cared about budget repair, say no to such whopping, expedited savings?!
However, squirrelled away on page 150 is this little beauty:

The bill would make unemployed people under 25 wait a month before accessing support, and even then only Youth Allowance; this pays $92 less per fortnight than Newstart, which, until now, people aged 22-24 have been able to access.
You might remember the Liberal Party tried to implement similar changes last year, with Porter arguing that while the waiting period might be “challenging for a very short period of time”, it is “a huge win” because not having money might encourage people not to use welfare (?).
And if you don’t feel that Porter’s “bleed em till they find a job” logic really stacks up, you’re not alone: the reforms were rightly destroyed by social service experts and blocked by Labor.
Similarly, experts from New Zealand, which implemented similar measures years ago, have warned Australia that similar cuts wrecked the social safety net and exacerbated child poverty.

Because even ignoring the damage this would do to young people when they need help the most, these changes wouldn’t really work from a long-term, purely economic standpoint.
Instead of getting immediate support and, for those able, getting off the system within a few months, young people could be pushed to poverty, which only exacerbates the problem and makes finding work harder from both a practical and mental health standpoint.
Think universal health care; it’s cheaper to get help when you need it than hold off until it becomes a bigger, more distressing problem.

And honestly, the ideology behind all this is super unrealistic and patronising as shit; luxuries like “eating” and “not living on the street” don’t incentivise people to prolong their sudden unemployment.
Most young people want to work and/or contribute to the world in some sense, and the minority that don’t are probably in a fine enough position to not need welfare in the first place.

Anyway, the silver-lining here is at least one person is set for a cool new gig: word is Porter is going to be rewarded for his gauging of the poor with the Attorney-General role when George Brandis is finally squirrelled away to London.
The system works, gang!
Source: ABC.
Photo: Matt King/Getty.