Migrants to wait four years for New start after government does deal with Labor

December 4, 2018 | Better Life Migration_Immigration BlogFAQStudent VisaUncategorizedUpdates

The opposition will support the migrant welfare bill after securing a compromise on some payments, saying it was better the government make a deal with Labor than with One Nation
Updated Updated 6 days ago
By James Elton-Pym

Newly arrived migrants will not be allowed to access Newstart welfare payments for their first four years in Australia under a Morrison government reform that will soon pass parliament after a deal was reached with Labor.

The opposition secured significant changes to the bill and has now agreed to support it, saying it was better to secure a bill they could “live with” instead of opening an opportunity for One Nation to secure their own agreement.

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The original bill would have made migrants wait four years before they could access a whole range of welfare payments.

Under the deal with Labor, the waiting time will be cut down to just one or two years for carers’ payments, parental leave pay and the Family Tax Benefit A, but will remain at four years for Newstart, the backbone unemployment payment commonly known as the dole.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen said Labor would “never” have supported the bill in its original form, but said the agreed changes now made it a bill the party could “live with”.

He said caucus had signed off on the deal on Tuesday.

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the changes are ones the party could “live with”.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says the changes are ones the party could “live with”.

“What we did is saved hundreds of thousands of families from being impacted and reduce the impact dramatically by reducing those four-year waiting times to one or two years in most instances. That’s a good outcome, a better outcome,” Mr Bowen told SBS News.

He said refusing to negotiate on the bill would have “opened the door for parties like One Nation and Fraser Anning to negotiate with the government on it”.

“We took the view it was better to negotiate with the government ourselves, try and get an arrangement which we could live with and support in all good conscience, and that’s what we did.”

Finance minister Mathias Cormann said the government was able to secure a “consensus” with the Labor party and said the measures would still deliver $1.3 in Budget savings through reduced welfare spending over the next four years.

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