Benefit Bill Widely Supported For Now

by Desk Editor on Thursday, July 23, 2015 — 5:02 PM

A bill extending the Youth Service benefit system has been sent to select committee.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said the Social Security (Extension of Young Persons Services and Remedial Matters) Amendment Bill was aimed at those who are considered at significant risk of long-term welfare dependency and give them support to move into the workforce or get education.

The Bill extends the existing Youth Service benefits, rules, obligations and exemptions to all 19-year old beneficiaries with children and 18 and 19-year old beneficiaries without children.

The existing scheme had been successful in that 75 percent involved had not gone onto an adult benefit and the Government wished to extend the model, she said.

Carmel Sepuloni said the Labour caucus had much discussion about the bill but would support it to select committee with major reservations. Labour backed the increased support for young people to get into work and education and wider assistance such as budgeting skills. However Labour was uncomfortable with the predicted risk model being used as it stigmatised people.

Ms Sepuloni said Labour had general concerns about the way Work and Income was treating beneficiaries.

The bill was sent to the Social Services Committee 105 to 10 with the Greens opposed.

MPs began the first reading debate of the Health Practitioners (Replacement of Statutory References to Medical Practitioners) Bill.
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