Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Shadow Treasurer plays catch up on welfare reform

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has been playing catch up on welfare reform, endorsing the Government’s policies in his speech to the Sydney Institute.

The Gillard Government has been reforming the welfare system to ensure it helps people take personal responsibility, while also providing essential support to those people who need it.

These reforms have included rolling out non-discriminatory income management across the Northern Territory, as well as Perth and the Kimberley in Western Australia and parts of Queensland.

The system now applies to 16,095 people across the Northern Territory. It will be fully evaluated which will inform future roll out.

Income management is a key tool for protecting vulnerable children.

It ensures that more welfare is spent in the interests of children on life essentials, including food, clothes and housing costs, and less welfare goes to problem behaviours like gambling and alcohol abuse.

Welfare recipients on income management have 50 per cent of their regular payments (70 per cent in cases involving child protection), and 100 per cent of lump sum payments income managed.

The Government has also introduced better information sharing protocols between Centrelink and state child protection agencies to ensure we protect vulnerable children.

Joe Hockey’s speech is another example of the Opposition’s lazy attitude to policy.

While the Opposition looks for catchy slogans and speeches, the Government is getting on with the job of ensuring we have a welfare system that helps people to take responsibility for themselves and their families.