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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14423


Mr BROADBENT (McMillan) (12:37): On behalf of the Select Committee on Intergenerational Welfare Dependence, I present the committee's report on the inquiry into intergenerational welfare dependence titled Living on the edge, together with the minutes of proceedings.

Report made parliamentary papers in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Mr BROADBENT: by leave—Today I present the report of the House Select Committee on Intergenerational Welfare Dependence, titledLiving on the edge: an inquiry into intergenerational welfare dependence.

In recent years, Australia has experienced a remarkable period of continuous economic growth. Many people in Australia enjoy a high standard of living, making the most of educational opportunities, employment and pa rticipating in their community.

Despite this success, there are Australians who have not shared in the nation ' s growth. Some Australians have experienced hardship or instability which has extended into a life that is characterised by entrenched disadvantage. In some cases, this involves long-term reliance on welfare payments and programs, extending from one gen eration to the next.

T his inquiry found that the factors contributing to intergenerational welfare dependence, or entrenched disadvantage, are complex. For some Australians the bar riers into employment are multifaceted and they require long -term support.

The c ommittee heard that there is a correlation between parents receiving welfare for significant periods of time and their children also requiring welfare payments. This report identifies a wide range of risk factors that can lead to intergenerational welfare dependence many of them ' external influences ' , such as geography or health. Other risk factors arise during the course of events in a person ' s life, such as experiencing trauma, growing u p in disadvantage, displacement or simply not having enough suppo rt at key points in their life.

The committee received evidence about the challenges faced by single mothers who don ' t receive adequate child support from their former partner, sometimes for several years. We also heard of people who lose their job due to illness or carer responsibilities. When they are able to return to work, there are many more applicants than available jobs. We heard of many people in the community experiencing financial distress so severe that the amount of time and energy required for daily survival limits their ability to even look for work.

The report focuses on the principles of successful welfare programs, including Australian case studies that inspired the committee by making real progress in tackling entre nched disadvantage.

The committee heard h ow Logan Together in Queensland and the Brotherhood of St Laurence ' s HIPPY program (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters) are supporting people through ' place based ' programs that are designed specifically to meet local needs, and with the input of local people.

This tailored approach needs to be in conjunction with ' wraparound ' services a coordinated approach that supports people at known pressure points throughout their life. These programs often work with more than one generation supporting parents as well as their kids.

The report recommends continued efforts of coordination between departments and other sectors in terms of program design, funding and delivery. The committee r ecognised the need for long -term funding a rrangements to allow for longer term commitments that are absolutely essential if government is to make inroads in to address ing entrenched disadvantage.

The report presented today describes complex circumstances and the principles that need to be in place to successfully address them. Prompt implementation of this report ' s 16 recommendations will benefit some of our nation ' s most vulnerable people immediately and in the long term.

I sincerely thank witnesses who shared their difficult personal experience of entrenched disadvantage with the committee . I also thank the organisations and departments who are working closely with this vulnerable group in our community. It is clear that many Australians are really doing it tough. They are oft en in remote and regional areas and , in many instances, they are sin gle mothers and their children.

In conclusion, I thank the staff of the committee very sincerely for their determined approach to this committee. I thank the d eputy c hair , Ged Kearney, and the committee members for their dedication and bipartisan approach to this inquiry and the way they supported me throughout this inquiry.

I co mmend this report to the House, and I attach my name to this report. I move:

That the House take note of the report.

Debate adjourned.