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  • The 'mind-body problem' and proposed DSP reforms

    Posted 18/11/2014 by Matthew Thomas
    The interim report of the Review of Australia’s Welfare System led by Patrick McClure was released on 29 June 2014. The report contains proposals for significant reforms to the Disability Support Pension (DSP). The reforms would see the DSP reserved for people with a permanent impairment and no capacity to work. Those people with a partial capacity to work would be placed on a lower tiered working age payment and provided with support to improve their employment capacity. The proposals r... Read more...

    TAGS: Disability Support Pension, mental health, disability employment, welfare reform

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  • New restrictions on disability pensioners travelling overseas

    Posted 26/08/2014 by Michael Klapdor

    In the midst of heated debate over the Budget’s welfare reforms some significant measures have escaped the headlines, including new restrictions on Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients travelling overseas. The measures, proposed by the Social Services and Other Legislation (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014, will reduce the time disability pensioners can spend overseas from six-weeks at a time to four weeks in a 12-month period. A number of submissions to the Senate committee inquiry into the Bill, from individual DSP recipients and from welfare groups, took issue with the changes suggesting that DSP was being unfairly targeted and that the measures would increase red tape.

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    TAGS: disability, welfare policy, social security, pensions

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  • Social services budget bills propose major changes to welfare

    Posted 22/08/2014 by Luke Buckmaster
    The 2014-15 federal budget included proposals for major changes in the social services portfolio, including payments to the unemployed, aged, people with disability and families with children. With most of these measures being introduced through two large and complex pieces of social services legislation, there is likely to be some confusion about the changes being made and which changes are being introduced where. This FlagPost provides a brief outline of what is in each of the social services ... Read more...

    TAGS: social security, social services, welfare

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  • The Forrest review and 'cashless welfare'

    Posted 15/08/2014 by Luke Buckmaster
    One of the more contentious elements in Andrew Forrest’s recent Indigenous Jobs and Training Review was the proposal for a for ‘cashless welfare’ system, provided through what he calls a ‘Healthy Welfare Card’. This FlagPost outlines key aspects of the proposal, highlighting where it differs from both the current income management system and Australia’s welfare arrangements in general. What is proposed? The Healthy Welfare Card would be based on the Basics C... Read more...

    TAGS: income management, welfare, indigenous Australians

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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

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  • 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

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