Government realises they need ‘revolutionary’ welfare reforms

You’ve heard this debate a million times in politics. Whether it’s references to ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘dole bludgers’ or

You’ve heard this debate a million times in politics.

Whether it’s references to ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘dole bludgers’ or ‘the welfare generation’, welfare dependency has plagued Australian politic discussion in recent times.

Now the Government has released a major new report by an accounting firm about welfare data, with one minister declaring we need “revolutionary change” to break the cycle of welfare dependency in Australia.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter told the ABC the report showed Australia’s approach to welfare wasn’t working.

“We already spend $160 billion on direct welfare payments and what this new data is telling us is that for too many people inside the system the money flows but nothing changes and lives are not improving,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing morally superior or progressive about just applying more money to more of the same approaches where they don’t seem to be working, without trying something different.”

You might be wondering what in the report has drawn the Government’s attention?

Well, the report studied 15 years’ of welfare data, identifying three at risk groups of welfare recipients and modelling their likely welfare into the future.

The analysis revealed a young carer would spend 43 years on welfare, costing taxpayers $500,000 each.

If you take into account those 11,000 young carers, that’s approximately $5.2 billion of welfare in their lifetime.

As for young single parents, well this current group of 4370 welfare recipients is expected to spend 45 years on income support – costing taxpayers $2.4 billion.

So what is the Government going to do about it?

It turns out the government is taking a leaf out of New Zealand’s book, unveiling a new program today aimed at early intervention and getting at-risk welfare recipients into training and employment.

The Australian Priority Investment Approach was a key recommendation of Mission Australia chief Patrick McClure’s during a review of the welfare system last year.

“I think it’s a very constructive approach because not only is it saying to a person ‘look, we believe in you, we believe you’ve got potential to access education, training or jobs’,” he told the ABC.

“But we’re actually investing services in them to find that pathway.”

Will it work?

Well, New Zealand has reduced its welfare bill by billions.

But, Mr Porter has already been forced to defend the program from criticism that it was more in saving money than helping people in the long term.

“At the heart of the Coalition Government’s case for welfare reform is that you do not reform according to some budget parameter or some ideology,” he said.

“But you apply individualised reforms at target groups identified at risk of long-term welfare dependence and measure whether or not their lives are actually being improved over time.”

The reforms are being welcomed by some groups, with Anglicare’s Deputy Director describing early intervention as a fantastic idea.

But he warned that poverty was one of the barriers to people getting a job.

“One of the biggest barriers to getting a job is being really poor, not having enough to live on and not having somewhere secure to live,” he said.

“So if you don’t have enough money to get your teeth fixed, have decent clothes, eat properly: well you’re not going to get a job — you’re going to struggle day to day.”

What do you think? Does Australia have an issue with welfare dependency? How can the Government change that?




  1. Sue Reid  

    They love to blame everyone else for wasting the taxpayers money, why don’t they look at themselves first, they waste money on themselves, and some of their stupid ideas like plebacites.
    They want to take money from people who are just scraping by, and pensioners who have worked hard and paid taxes for their whole lives.

    • Pero Domazet  

      Good on you Sue Reid you said the right thing.Goverment ministers get teir wages well anove the rest for one but it is their fault that the welfare is as bed as it is. Government allowed all factories to be shifted overseas to china and thailand where people wor for handfull of dollars.Products get produced cheaply there but sold here at verry jigh pricess and factori owners make huge profits but not putting enough money into government budget.So a talk about getting people to reeducate so they can find jobs.Where they are going to find the jobs if all productions are done in China and Thailand not here.If Australians can find jobs here they would also pay taxes and welfare dependents would be beter off.Astralia at the moment only non productive jobs which means employees such as techers.doctors and other services which do not produce any products.Order the producing factories back to Australia and the things will definetly improve.

  2. Greg Hills  

    Spot on, Sue Reid. The cuts need to start with politicians and corporate entity handouts first. They are the biggest recipients of “welfare” by a long way. Companies get free concessions, tax breaks, negative gearing, etc. – these are all forms of welfare, and need to be eliminated first, before starting on those that are struggling.
    Cut the tax rate to 25% across the board, put the Medicare Levy up to 5% (currently only 1.5% for most people). Then eliminate all corporate tax breaks, all negative gearing, all indirect taxes including stamp duty on property sales.
    If they want, put the GST up to 15% to compensate for eliminating indirect taxes and excises. You only pay GST when you buy things anyway.

    • Yes but even the poor have to buy things ! It’s the top end of town where the cuts need to start , Politicians first ? $ 200+ a night staying in Canberra ? I ask you is that fair ???

  3. Dee  

    Successive governments have already tightened up the welfare system. Single mothers have to find work when their child reaches a certain age (which keeps decreasing). They make out its all for our own good and that all of us including age pensioners are just no-good welfare bludgers. They also make out that NZ is a role model for us and from what I’ve seen and heard, poverty is rife over there. Make no mistake about it, the intention is to brainwash us to believe they know what’s best for us before robbing us blind to bolster up the rich. Hopefully the left will thwart their evil plan! Worst government ever!

  4. Paul  

    What a joke the real problem in our economy is the lack of jobs ????????????????? until this mob get themselves into gear and start creating more jobs the welfare system will be costly – I wonder how many pollies could live on new start or the pension (they spill more ) Paul

  5. Frank  

    ‘a young carer would spend 43 years on welfare, costing taxpayers $500,000 each’

    hmm – what is a young carer ? is it someone looking after a disabled family member ? needing to stay home to wipe their bum and bring them food if they can’t do that for themselves ? yeah that sounds like a real rort

    and waste of taxpayers dollars ? – $500,000 over 43 years looks like $11,600 per year – a life of luxury indeed !

    I think it’s time we became more spartan – you know – leave unwanted babies and disabled people on hillsides – to be eaten by the wolves – that sound bring the national budget back into surplus – how about that ?

    (oh – for slow readers – look out for the irony)

    • Dee  

      Hilarious, Frank! I love it! It’d be even funnier if it wasn’t true.

  6. Audrey  

    Agreed Frank……….and better still, these ‘young carers’ could be PAID to do the caring that would need to be outsourced to someone else. They could have good TAFE training with it. So respect for doing a necessary job, and training to ensure future work if it becomes available.
    The problem we have is lack of jobs and poverty. The new formula is a rerun of the Howard years. Lots of new companies spring up amongst those ‘in the know’ and they cream of in salaries for themselves and their possible shareholders. Jobseeking is chasing your tail for many people, the equivalent of the old prison labourer digging a hole and filling it in…over and over.
    I could spit!! Bring back meaningful work, have employers have on-site childcare, and stop this use of free labour disquised as training and often benefitting the company paid by the Government (our taxes). These job training seems to be a subsidy for employers and should be in the national accounts as such.

  7. Dee  

    Yes and that ‘young carer’ ad just shows how out of touch they are. The whole ad is designed to brainwash us into thinking their way and just falls flat on its face. If there are still any welfare “rorts” out there its not the “young carers”. This government assumes their constituents have very low IQ’s. Prepare for more of the same. (brainwashing ads I mean!) Anything to avoid addressing the real source of “rorts”, ie business, property, politicians. If our country goes bankrupt, it won’t be welfare that causes it!

  8. from my experience visiting centrelink a few times in Sydney with a friend, 90% of them were recent immigrants getting the dole and many had large families so they would be getting thousands a week. I think we need to stop this and make a stand down period of 10 years for immigrants to get the dole.Now Aussies born here miss out because of our pathetic government that wants to issues as many visas as they can in the 3 year term to show some cash flow from each visa fee which is around 7k now. they try to mislead us and say we must embrace multi-culture but really they are saying we must embrace visa cash flow. it’s a short term money cash cow, that is their selfish agenda, don’t believe the hype they spin about embracing multiculturalism.

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