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New migrant wait for welfare ‘makes sense’, says minister

Article image for New migrant wait for welfare ‘makes sense’, says minister

Migrants will have to wait up to four years to access welfare payments like Newstart or concession cards after legislation cleared Federal Parliament.

The Coalition government struck a deal with Labor to pass the bill on Monday night.

It will also see the wait for carer payments, parental leave pay as well as dad and partner pay extended to two years.

However, the wait times will not apply to single parent migrant families or those with one income earner.

Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher tells Ray Hadley the changes “make sense”.

“The thinking here is that we spend $176 billion a year on social security and welfare and we need to be fair to both people who depend on that and to the taxpayers who pay for it.

Mr Fletcher says the new legislation will “target welfare to where it’s most needed”.

“People who arrived on these skilled visas, often they’ve got jobs lined up, they’re people who’ve got good prospects of work so we think this makes sense.”

He says the changes, which come into effect from January 1, will save taxpayers $1.3 billion.

But the minister maintains “the best thing we can do… is maintain strong border protection”.

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