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Media Release: A fairer welfare system that supports more people into work

Thu, 11 May 2017, 12:27 PM

Joint Media Release with:
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Human Services
Department of Social Services, 9 May 2017
The Turnbull Government is embarking on a comprehensive reform of Australia’s working-age welfare payments, guaranteeing the essential services that Australians rely on.
The reforms involve multiple, substantive and co-ordinated changes across the Social Services, Employment and Human Services portfolios.
These measures will deliver:
  • A simpler system for people receiving working age payments;
  • More encouragement in the system for people transitioning to work and greater support for people along the path to employment; and
  • Stricter compliance to ensure people are following the rules.

A simpler system

The Government will introduce a new, single JobSeeker Payment, which will replace or consolidate seven existing payments and simplify an often confusing and complex welfare system. From 20 March 2020 the JobSeeker Payment will progressively replace the Newstart Allowance; Sickness Allowance; Wife Pension; Partner Allowance; Bereavement Allowance; Widow B Pension; and Widow Allowance.

Provisions will be made within the new payment structure for people who have a temporary incapacity to work such as ill-health or bereavement.
Over 99 per cent of people will have no change to their payment rates. 
More encouragement and greater support
The Government is creating a clearer, more coherent set of mutual obligation requirements for working age payment recipients whilst increasing support available to help them find employment.
A new system of participation and mutual obligation rules will provide greater assurances that recipients have a responsibility to the taxpayer, themselves and their families to become increasingly financially independent through employment. 
New Mutual Obligation Rules
Consistent participation and mutual obligations will be properly monitored and enforced. This will ensure more people prepare for, search for and accept suitable employment. It is a fairer system.
From 20 September 2018:
  • Job seekers aged 30-49 years (approximately 270,000), will have activity requirements of 50 hours per fortnight, up from the current 30 hours.
  • Job seekers 55 to 59 years (approximately 40,000) will no longer be able to meet 30 hours of activity requirements through volunteering alone— flexibility will exist for some recipients in areas of high unemployment.
  • Job seekers 60 to Age Pension age (approximately 45,000) who currently have no activity requirements will be required to have 10 hours per fortnight of activity requirements which can all be met through volunteering.
To support working-age people in the welfare system achieve self-reliance, significant additional funding will also be directed to services to help them remain on a path towards employment.
  • $263 million to help parents prepare for work through a national expansion of the ParentsNext program in jobactive regions across Australia from 1 July 2018; and
  • $20.4 million to help increase the skills and experience of mature age job seekers. This includes the Career Transition Assistance Program, which from 1 July 2018, will provide more opportunities for mature age job seekers to retrain and reskill; an expansion of the National Work Experience Programme to provide more work experience opportunities and Pathway to Work Pilots to create additional job opportunities for job seekers, including mature age and people with disability.
Read: the full media release here

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