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One month dole wait faces Senate defeat

AAP logoAAP 18/10/2016 Rashida Yosufzai

The federal government says it will continue with its push to make young Australians wait for the dole despite its plan for a one-month welfare suspension heading for defeat again.

With Labor and the Greens opposed to the plan, the government needed the Nick Xenophon Team's three crucial votes in the Senate.

But NXT MP Rebekha Sharkie dismissed it as a punitive measure, saying there was no evidence it would help young people get into work.

"It's fundamentally unfair and it doesn't stack up," the former youth affairs officer told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"If you are being starved essentially out of a fox hole ... you have no capacity to find a job. It costs money to look for work."

Social Services Minister Christian Porter vowed to press on with the controversial plan, without detailing in what form.

"The minister will continue to work with the cross bench on these important measures," a spokeswoman told AAP in a statement.

Senator Xenophon said the government's intention to slash youth unemployment rates was admirable but there was a better way to do it.

He expressed concern about deficiencies in the education system that were resulting in teenagers not being work-ready to take on apprenticeships.

The government in 2014 proposed a six-month wait for people under the age of 25 to access unemployment benefits.

That was later revised to four weeks, on top of the existing one-week delay for all Newstart applicants.

Job seekers would also be required to perform a range of activities to help them get ready for the workforce.

NXT will also reject a budget repair measure to scale back access to the pension for Australians who go overseas for more than six weeks.

Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government will pursue savings in other welfare measures.

Asked whether the legislation would be taken off the budget books, he told Sky News: "There will be a point in which those decisions will be taken."

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