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‘Grandfather’ arrangements for PPS – entitlement or inequity?

Since it was announced in the 2012-13 Budget that ‘grandfathering’ arrangements for single parents receiving Parenting Payment Single (PPS) would cease on 1 January 2013, there has been considerable concern expressed at the plight of these recipients who would see their weekly income support payments reduced by over $130 per fortnight for those on the maximum rate, and in some cases not be entitled to any income support and associated benefits if they had high enough earnings. However there appears to have been little recognition that these changes also mean that those who have been in receipt of PPS continuously since June 2006 are now being treated equally to the majority of single parents... Read more...

Who is on Newstart?

Given the current Senate Committee inquiry into the adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others it is perhaps worth considering what sort of people are reliant on these payments? Recent data released by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs enables us to explore the characteristics of those receiving these allowances as at June 2011.What allowances are people receiving?The major payment for jobseekers is Newstart Allowance (NSA). Other payments with more than 10 000 recipients which are currently linked to the NSA rates are Partner Allowance (PA), Widow Allowance (WA) and Parenting Payment (Partnered)(PPP). PA is no longer open ... Read more...

Despite the GFC, income support reliance remains low

The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee is currently holding two separate but related enquiries, one into the adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others, and the other into legislation to remove the ‘grandfathering’ transitional arrangements for parenting payment recipients (among other changes). In this context, it is timely to look at the impact of previous changes to the welfare system and consider what proportion of the working age population is affected by issues being considered by the Committee. Despite the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which led to a slight increase over the period to 2010, the level ... Read more...

New Place Based Income Management to commence 1 July

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 base it in particular areas? What do we know about whether or not it is likely to be successful?  Place Based Income Management will apply in the following Local Government Areas (LGAs):Bankstown, Ne... Read more...

Income management: some answers to key questions

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 understanding. It provides a brief overview of the history of income management and responses to a number of key questions about the policy.Questions answered by the Background Note include: what is i... Read more...

Government extends special Youth Allowance access to Inner Regional students

The Government has announced that it will introduce legislation allowing students from inner regional areas to access independent Youth Allowance under the same rules that apply to students from Outer Regional, Remote and Very Remote areas. This follows the Government’s release of a scheduled review of student income support reforms conducted by Professor Kwong Lee Dow (the Dow Review). The Government brought forward the review by 12 months in response to concerns about access to income support by students in rural and regional areas. The Government has not accepted Professor Dow’s most contentious recommendation which is to remove the current special arrangements for young people from Outer... Read more...

Carbon Pricing Mechanism—Assistance to welfare recipients

The Government has announced a package of measures aimed at providing assistance to households to compensate for the cost of living impact of the carbon price. Assistance will be delivered through permanent increases to welfare payments and tax cuts. The Parliamentary Library has published a short brief outlining the assistance provided to welfare recipients. The brief notes that, according to the Government’s modelling, welfare recipients will be overcompensated for the expected cost of living impact of the carbon price. Indeed, it appears that welfare recipients will also effectively be compensated more than once when normal processes of payment indexation are taken into account. The brief... Read more...

When Garnaut met Henry: the carbon price and welfare reform

Professor Ross Garnaut’s recent update paper no. 6 to the Garnaut Climate Change Review, released on 17 March 2011, found that ‘protecting the most vulnerable is critical to the success of the carbon price’. Professor Garnaut found that while reforms to income taxation would, for most taxpayers, assist in mitigating the effects of a rise in the price of consumer goods resulting from the introduction of a carbon price, those on little or no income could face hardship unless reforms are also made to the social security system. Garnaut sees the introduction of carbon price as an opportunity for reform, holding that significant benefits to productivity, participation and income could be secured... Read more...

History of Australian pensions

 The long running Parliamentary Library publication Social Security Payments for the Aged, People with Disabilities and Carers 1901 to 2010 has been updated to include policy changes since 2006.At federation in 1901 the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia gave power to the Commonwealth Government to legislate for invalid and old-age pensions. A Royal Commission on Old-Age Pensions was conducted during 1905‐6 and legislation for both age and invalid pensions was passed in 1908 during the Deakin administration.These pensions were unusual compared with other countries in that they were non-contributory (paid for through general revenue, rather than social insurance contributions), non... Read more...

The major parties and ‘corrosive’ welfare

Where do the major parties stand on welfare policy? In what direction can we expect welfare policy to be taken throughout the course of the next parliament? One thing clear from the election policy announcements of the major parties is that there is likely to be a further strong emphasis on addressing what each describes as the ‘corrosive’ effects of welfare. This would continue the recent focus of both Labor and the Coalition on the idea that while welfare is necessary for the alleviation of disadvantage, it also has a role in maintaining or even causing disadvantage.Labor’s main welfare policy document commits a re-elected Gillard Government to modernising Australia’s welfare system throug... Read more...

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