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A new era of welfare



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A new era of welfare

ministers.dss.gov.au

/media-releases/3406

Media Releases

4 July 2018

Joint with:

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

The welfare system will help more Australians into work with reforms that have come into

effect.

The new measures make the welfare system fairer, more equitable and easier to

understand.

The new measures strengthen mutual obligation requirements and provide more incentives

to help people move from welfare to work.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said under the Turnbull Government’s

strong economic management, job creation has been at record highs but we must ensure

all Australians can take up these job opportunities.

“We want to see all job seekers fulfil their potential and have the best possible prospects of

transition from income support into employment which is why we have made the welfare

system simpler, fairer and more effective,” Ms Cash said.

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said the Turnbull Government wanted to help

people get off welfare and into work.

“Australians expect a welfare system that helps people who need it, and respects those

who pay for it,” Mr Tehan said.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said the reforms removed many of the

barriers that have prevented some job seekers from re-entering the workforce quickly.

“Things like drug and alcohol dependency will no longer be an excuse for not looking for a

job,” Mr Keenan said. “However, you may seek treatment to meet your mutual obligations.”

“Evidence shows that job seekers who consistently meet those obligations are three times

more likely to get off welfare and find work.”

Starting 1 July:

A new compliance framework based on a demerit points system - similar to how a

driver’s licence operates - will target welfare recipients who are not serious about

finding work, while providing greater protections for vulnerable job seekers. This

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includes a new online dashboard to make it easier for jobactive, Disability

Employment Services and ParentsNext participants to view their mutual obligation

requirements and assist them to take personal responsibility.

Job seekers will not be able to use drug or alcohol dependency to gain an exemption

or use it repeatedly as a reasonable excuse for not meeting their mutual obligation

requirements. Instead, people may participate in rehabilitation and treatment

programs to prepare for getting a job.

Welfare fraud prosecution referrals will be more streamlined by allowing information

obtained during administrative actions and investigations to be available to support

subsequent criminal proceedings.

Job seekers subject to RapidConnect will be further encouraged to look for work as

soon as possible, with payments now commencing from the date they attend their

first employment service provider appointment.

The Department of Human Services can now collect Tax File Numbers from

claimants before payments are approved.

Welfare claimants will generally receive payments from the date they lodge their

claim, rather than from the date they first contact Centrelink. This will encourage

social security claimants to provide timely and complete information in support of their

claims. There will be exemptions for vulnerable claimants.

Payment rates for Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay will increase in line

with increases to the national minimum wage. This will support working families to

care for their young children and have continuity in their working lives.

Parents who receive an income support payment and have a nil rate due to

employment income will no longer be exempt from the Family Tax Benefit Part A

income test and the Parental Income Test for youth payments. This change removes

inequity in the system and ensures families with the same income receive the same

amount of Government assistance.

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