15 Mar 2013

Australian Govt worried about growing NZ underclass

12:56 pm on 15 March 2013

Official papers reveal the Australian Federal Government has been worried about discrimination against New Zealanders within its social services policy since 2009.

The papers were released under Australia's Freedom of Information Act and date back to March 2009.

Some 477,000 New Zealand citizens now live in Australia but many hold non-protected visas meaning they have no access to unemployment benefits, parenting payments or sickness allowances.

The papers show the Family, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs ministry has been actively discussing the problem with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, meeting at least five times during 2009 and 2010.

The last set of minutes included in the papers are from a meeting between the two departments in December 2010 and show a letter was sent to the Australian Prime Minister.