ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie today responded to the Federal Government’s announcement that it is reviewing Australia’s social security payment system, expressing support for a review provided it improves job seekers’ prospects and isn’t used as a short-term budget fix.
Speaking to reporters Dr Goldie emphasised the following:
- ACOSS’ support for a comprehensive review of the income support system to simplify the system and improve payment adequacy and support to get a job, as well as to improve the fairness and equity of the system.
- The review should not be conducted behind closed doors, with policy outcomes announced on Budget night.
- The process needs to be open and transparent, allowing dialogue between community organisations, employment services, and employers, so that we can develop and back policy changes that will work to improve the job prospects of people disadvantaged in the labour market, and to provide adequate income support for those who need it.
- The need to increase support for those receiving Allowance payments (reiterating ACOSS’ call for a $50 increase to allowance payments and improved indexation to be linked to wage rises).
- Our support for reforms to create a simpler system, including support for a single base payment with supplements for additional costs where relevant (costs of disability, rent, job search, and so on).
- Our concern about proposals to introduce a tiered payment structure, which will only increase the complexity and inequities in the system.
- The need to ensure that reform of the welfare system is complemented by increased support to assist people to find paid work, particularly people who are long-term unemployed, older people, single parents, carers and people with a disability.
“This could be a fantastic opportunity to get the most out of the dollars we are spending and to put the whole system on a more sustainable footing.”
“But if it becomes a behind-closed-doors, short-term fix to find budget savings, we will strongly oppose it.”
“The process of this review is vital. We need to have an open process, clear terms of reference, we need to have a discussion paper to highlight where the thinking is going.”
“We cannot have a review of a major, vital part of our social infrastructure done behind closed doors with the policy changes announced on budget night.”
Main Media Clips
Jobs groups oppose Abbott welfare cuts – Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, Thursday January 23, 2014
Welfare review could recommend stricter conditions on carer pensions – Bridie Jabour, The Guardian, Thursday January 23, 2014
Disability Peak Bodies Meet with Welfare Reviewer – Pro Bono, Thursday January 23, 2014
Kevin Andrews delivers welfare warning – Cassandra Goldie interview on ABC Radio National Breakfast, January 21, 2014
We would back sensible reform to make sure tax concessions are targeted to lower income families, says head of ACOSS – ABC News Radio January 21, 2014
Welfare groups welcome review, but want Newstart increase – ABC PM Program, January 21, 2014
Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews signals overhaul of welfare system – Jonathan Swan, SMH January 21, 2014
ACOSS boss sees value in welfare review – AAP, January 21, 2014
Welfare must be reined in, says Kevin Andrews – Patricia Karvelas, The Australian, Tuesday January 21, 2014
Recent ACOSS Opinion Pieces
Poverty is real, and here – Cassandra Goldie, The Australian, Friday January 24, 2014
Welfare ‘blowout’ doesn’t add up – Toni Wren, AFR, Friday January 24, 2014
The so-called welfare problem is by and large an ageing population problem – Greg Jericho, The Guardian, Thursday January 23, 2014
Jobs are key to Disability Pension Reform< – Daily Telegraph, January 8, 2014
Jobs not Newstart the key to disability pension reform – The National Times, January 2, 2014
Joint endeavour can boost jobs for the disabled – Craig Wallace, The Australian, January 22, 2014