More than half a million young people could need emergency assistance to pay for food and shelter because of a federal government change which welfare groups warn will lead to ''catastrophe''.
From January, jobseekers aged under 30 years will have to wait six months before becoming eligible for unemployment benefits.
In an admission the change is likely to push hundreds of thousands of young people into crisis, officials told Senate hearings this week the government had allocated $230 million over four years to provide emergency relief to those affected by the measure.
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