A holistic approach to welfare


The Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare is a new way of looking at the welfare system.

It uses actuarial data analysis to provide insights into how the system is working and informs innovative ways of helping more Australians to live independently of welfare.

The approach aims to invest early to assist people most at risk of long-term welfare dependency to find work and improve their overall wellbeing. By taking a longer-term view of pathways in and out of the welfare system, support can be targeted and delivered at critical transition points to help people build financial independence and realise their potential.

Part of the approach is the $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund (TTL). The TTL is trialling new ways to help some of the most vulnerable in society onto a pathway towards education or employment. Fourteen initiatives are being trialled under the first tranche of the TTL focusing on young carers, young parents, students at risk of long-term unemployment and at-risk young people. Further trials assisting working age carers, migrants and refugees, at-risk young people and older unemployed people are also being implemented in tranche 2.

The fund will also give us an understanding of how government can create an innovative, user-centred policy that better achieves objectives.

Some of the day-to-day management of the TTL projects is shared across a number of the department’s policy areas. This helps to embed lessons learned from the projects into the relevant areas.

In tranche 1, members of the community were invited to submit ideas through a public online form and the department also organised a policy hack—a workshop to generate ideas—with around 100 participants. Ideas produced from this workshop were considered together with those submitted by the community. Lessons learned from tranche 1 informed the design of the second tranche.

The University of Queensland (UQ), in partnership with the University of Melbourne (UoM), has been engaged to conduct an overall evaluation and will analyse data across:

  • the overarching TTL
  • cohort-level analyses, and
  • project-level analyses.

Projects funded under the TTL report monthly through the department’s Data Exchange and report quarterly against their activity work plans, which are managed by the Grant Agreement Managers in the department’s Delivery Network. This data is being used by the department to monitor projects’ progress and evaluate outcomes and by UQ and UoM in their evaluation work.

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