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Booming number of older Australians on Newstart

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The number of middle-aged Australians on Newstart has increased by nearly 25 per cent over the past six years.

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Australians aged between 45 and 65 make up about half of all unemployment support recipients, with more than 330,000 on the welfare payment as of September last year.

At the same point in 2013, that age group accounted for 41 per cent of Newstart recipients, according to government figures.

Labor’s Linda Burney says this cohort will be hard hit by a government proposal to make people wait longer before applying for welfare.

“Australians over 45 experience the most difficulty re-entering the workforce, due to structural barriers and workplace discrimination,” she said.

“This increased waiting time will eat up the only financial buffer standing between them and financial hardship and emergencies.”

Legislation underpinning the longer welfare wait times is on its way to the Senate after passing the lower house last year.

Meanwhile, Australia’s peak welfare group has used its federal budget submission to up the ante on calls to raise Newstart, seeking a $95 per week rise.

The group has previously called for a $75 per week increase but say the $20 higher figure is needed because the cost of housing and essentials has risen dramatically.

-AAP

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