20 Mar 2012

Welfare reform legislation introduced

4:20 pm on 20 March 2012

Legislation enacting the first stage of the Government's welfare changes has been introduced to Parliament.

The bill sets up a new youth benefit under which recipients will have a payment card for groceries, and their rent, power and phone bills will be paid directly.

It also requires some youth beneficiaries to have their budgets actively managed on their behalf.

Private providers will be contracted to those beneficiaries and they will receive financial incentives for getting them into work or training.

The legislation allows for information to be shared between schools, police and welfare agencies and for the private providers to have access to that information.

The bill, which also includes work obligations for people on the domestic purposes benefit and the widows' and women-alone benefit, is due to have its first reading in Parliament next week.