Review of Australia’s Welfare System

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The Reference Group’s Interim Report A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes was released on 29 June 2014.

Submissions and comments to the Reference Group’s Interim Report have now closed.  Thank you to everyone who made a submission or provided a comment to the welfare review.  The submissions and comments will contribute to the Reference Group’s development of its Final Report. Submissions that have been made will continue to be published on this website over coming weeks.

About the review

The Australian Government makes a range of payments to individuals and families to provide support at times when individuals cannot support themselves or to assist with certain costs, such as those of raising children.

Over the past decade Australia’s welfare system has grown relentlessly and become unsustainable.

In December 2013, the Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, commissioned a review of Australia’s welfare system to identify improvements to ensure the social support system is sustainable, effective and coherent, and encourages people to work.

An independent Reference Group, comprising Mr Patrick McClure AO (Chair), Ms Sally Sinclair and Mr Wesley Aird, was appointed to conduct the review.

The Reference Group was asked to advise the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, on how the welfare system can:

  • provide incentives to work for those who are able to work
  • adequately support those who are genuinely not able to work
  • support social and economic participation through measures that build individual and family capability
  • be affordable and sustainable both now and in the future and across economic cycles
  • be easy to access and understand, and able to be delivered efficiently and effectively.

As part of the review,  the Reference Group met with an initial selected group of stakeholders to gather firsthand views and feedback about the current system, undertook an analysis of the current system, considered factors and trends that influence the system, and previous reviews and reforms. Further consultations have been held after the release of the Interim Report.  The Stakeholder Consultations page lists those organisations that attended these consultations.

The Reference Group looked at the broad range of payments and services available for people of working age, and considered whether they support people to participate in work in line with their capacity.

While the focus has been on payments for working age people, the Reference Group considered issues that affect all payments, such as indexation. The Reference Group also considered how possible changes to payments within scope may impact on other payments.

The Reference Group’s Interim Report - A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes - proposes four pillars of reform:

  • Simpler and sustainable income support system
  • Strengthening individual and family capability
  • Engaging with employers
  • Building community capacity.

The Reference Group sought feedback on its Interim Report to help inform the development of its Final Report to the Minister for Social Services. The Reference Group also meet with a select group of stakeholders for additional feedback.

Interim Report

The following Interim Report documents are available to view and download:

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