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  • Pension indexation: a brief history

    Posted 16/04/2014 by Michael Klapdor
    In the lead-up to the Coalition Government’s first Budget, speculation has focused on possible changes to the age pension, including adjusting the way pension rates are indexed. Indexation is a complex and important component of the Australian social security system but one that is often misunderstood. The following provides an explanation and brief history of indexation. How pension rates are adjusted Currently, pensions (including the Age Pension, Service Pension, Disability Support Pe... Read more...

    TAGS: pensions,welfare policy,welfare reform,social security

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  • What’s happening with the McClure welfare review?

    Posted 19/03/2014 by Luke Buckmaster
    The Government is conducting a review into welfare payments, headed by former Mission Australia CEO, Patrick McClure. This post briefly outlines what is currently known about the McClure review, including its objectives, processes and possible outcomes. Late in 2013, it was reported that McClure had been asked to provide recommendations on streamlining and improving Australia’s system of welfare payments. While initially it was thought that the review would examine the entire system, the ... Read more...

    TAGS: welfare policy, welfare reform, social security

    Comments (2)
  • Growth in Age Pension receipt: the elephant in the room of the welfare reform debate

    Posted 24/01/2014 by Carol Ey
    The Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has recently expressed concern at the continued growth in the number of people in receipt of income support payments, and suggested that the welfare system is unsustainable. He has therefore commissioned Patrick McClure to undertake a review of the welfare system. Mr McClure’s previous review led to the Welfare to Work changes in 2006. However a closer investigation of the figures, released by the Department of Social Security, suggests that welfare receipt among those of working age is already declining, and hence the scope to make further large reductions may be limited. However Age Pension take up rates continue to increase. Read more...

    TAGS: social security, welfare reform

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  • Extending income management in Cape York

    Posted 29/11/2013 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image: Coen (Wikimedia Commons)
    Legislation introduced into Parliament last week proposes to extend operation of income management in Cape York for a further two years until the end of 2015. This will be the third time income management has been extended in Cape York since it began in 2008. The Government argues that income management is a key element of welfare reform efforts in Cape York, which it says have 'seen improved school attendance, care and protection of children and community safety'.Cape York income managementInco... Read more...

    TAGS: employment, income management, indigenous Australians, welfare, welfare reform

    Comments (2)
  • Paid Parental Leave: Robin Hood or piggy bank?

    Posted 10/05/2013 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image source: fahcsia.gov.au
    While there are numerous differences between the Labor and Coalition policies on parental leave pay, the most controversial is the rate of payment. While the current Government scheme is paid at the National Minimum Wage ($606.50 per week), the Coalition proposal is for parents to be paid at their full salary capped at an income level of $150,000.The difference between the two approaches highlights the complicated relationship present in both schemes between the idea of Parental Leave Pay as a w... Read more...

    TAGS: paid parental leave, welfare policy, welfare systems

    Comments (1)
  • Can means testing of welfare really save the budget?

    Posted 8/05/2013 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image: Robin shoots with Sir Guy (Louis Rhead, 1912), Wikimedia Commons
    One suggestion for addressing Australia's budget deficit has been to make cuts to 'middle class welfare'are'—that is, welfare payments made to households other than those with low incomes.The problem with such suggestions is that they are frequently light on details about precisely which welfare payments are the source of the 'problem' and what 'middle class' means. Nor do they tend to address the unintended consequences of making changes to eligibility for payments though tightening of means te... Read more...

    TAGS: middle class welfare, welfare policy

    Comments (2)
  • Why the Pensioner Concession Card is so valuable

    Posted 15/01/2013 by Michael Klapdor
    Image source: NSW DPI
    The Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr, has ordered Centrelink to apologise to tens of thousands of single parents who were mistakenly told that they were no longer eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) after being moved from Parenting Payment Single (PPS) to Newstart Allowance on 1 January 2013. The letter to parents affected by changes to PPS eligibility arising from the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Fair Incentives to Work) Act 2012 advised them to destroy their c... Read more...

    TAGS: Newstart, Parenting Payment, welfare policy

    Comments (2)
  • New Place Based Income Management to commence 1 July

    Posted 29/06/2012 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image: Bankstown Railway Station (Wikimedia Commons)
    A new form of income management being introduced next week will extend welfare quarantining to selected disadvantaged areas across Australia, targeting people involved in child protection matters and deemed vulnerable to financial hardship.From 1 July, the Government will introduce a new form of income management to communities in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.   So, how will the new Place Based Income Management operate and how does it differ from existing forms? Why... Read more...

    TAGS: income management, social security, welfare policy, welfare reform

    Comments (0)
  • Income management: some answers to key questions

    Posted 21/06/2012 by Luke Buckmaster
    Image: BasicsCard kiosk, (Centrelink)
    From 1 July 2012, income management will be extended to five new disadvantaged communities across Australia: Bankstown (New South Wales), Logan (Queensland), Rockhampton (Queensland), Playford (South Australia) and Greater Shepparton (Victoria).While the policy of income management of welfare payments has been highly controversial, the specific details of its various forms are not generally well understood. The Parliamentary Library has released a Background Note seeking to address this lack of ... Read more...

    TAGS: income management, social security, welfare policy, welfare reform

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  • Is income management working?

    Posted 2/05/2012 by Luke Buckmaster
     
    Image: BasicsCard kiosk (Centrelink)
      Much of the debate surrounding income management of welfare payments has related to the question of evidence. That is, is there evidence to justify the policy? Alternatively, is there evidence of policy failure or harmful consequences arising from income management? In other words, is income management working?Income management (also known as ‘welfare quarantining’) refers to a policy under which a percentage of the welfare payments of certain people are set aside to be spent only on ‘pri... Read more...

    TAGS: income management, welfare policy, welfare reform

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