Scott Morrison says shorter dole wait no 'Ikea catalogue' for benefits
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Scott Morrison says shorter dole wait no 'Ikea catalogue' for benefits

A proposal that relaxes a government plan to make young people wait six months for the dole should not be treated like an "Ikea catalogue to go shopping for benefits", Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has said.

Mr Morrison made the comments as the government prepares to introduce legislation that would make people under 25 wait four weeks, in addition to the standard one week wait time, before they could receive benefits.

It is a major backdown from the position the government took in last year's budget, which was to force all people under the age of 30 to wait six months before receiving the dole.

"One of the more concerning things I've had in this new responsibility as Minister for Social Services is to be briefed on what happens at the end of each school year, particularly for young school leavers," Mr Morrison said.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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"This document is not an Ikea catalogue to go shopping for benefits. That's not what it is."

The four-week wait proposal is opposed by Labor and the community sector, which has argued young people will struggle to pay rent and feed themselves.

But Mr Morrison accused Labor of opposing the bill before reading the legislation and said leader Bill Shorten wanted to run a "shuttle from the school gate to the Centrelink office."

"Eight out of 10 income taxpayers have to go to work every day to pay for the benefit and support that are provided in this schedule," he said.

"But it shouldn't be the case that people just simply pick this up out of school, go straight to the Centrelink office and say 'give me my money'."

Mr Morrison said reversing last year's budget measure would come at a cost to the federal budget of $1.8 billion.

He said the savings from a four-week wait period would be $200 million "but in addition to that, we've invested over $300 million in ensuring that there are programs to support particularly very vulnerable youth in the community".

Young people who would be exempt from the one-month wait include the vulnerable, some with mental illnesses, women in the final six weeks of pregnancy, those released from prison and those unable to live at home.

Lisa Cox is a national political reporter covering breaking news and the environment. Most recently Lisa covered the ACT Legislative Assembly for The Canberra Times.