Media Release by The Hon Christian Porter MP

Big decreases in teen parents on income support across the country

With the Coalition Government’s strong focus on improving lives and helping people into work, there has been a nation-wide decrease in the number of teen parents on income support by 13 per cent between 2013 and 2016.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the latest data from the Australian Priority Investment Approach to Welfare shows that in June 2013 there were 31,971 income support recipients aged under 25 who started receiving a Parenting Payment when they were under the age of 19. By June 2016 this number had reduced to 27,940, saving the taxpayer around $2 billion over the lifetime of those young Australians.

Significantly, every State and Territory in the nation has had at least a 10 per cent decrease in young parents on income support, with the Australian Capital Territory as high as 20 per cent.

“Over the past few years the Coalition Government has put in place a range of initiatives and measures to help improve lives and encourage people to become self-reliant,” Minister Porter said.

“These numbers show that what we are doing is helping young people to break the cycle of welfare dependency and significantly improve their future prospects and those of their children.

“Our work started with the Howard Government’s Welfare to Work reforms, which encouraged young parents to find work.

“The Government continues to focus on improving outcomes for this cohort through better targeting of payments and a focus on job creation.

“We have implemented a range of measures to further strengthen compliance and payment integrity to ensure payments are only going to those in need.

“We now have the lowest unemployment rate in five years. Through targeted youth and parent programs such as ParentsNext, Transition to Work and PaTH we are helping young people find jobs and lead self-fulfilling lives.”

Despite the encouraging data, Minister Porter said the Coalition Government recognised there was still more work to be done.

“Unfortunately, the data also tells us that there were still 3,760 young parents aged 18 or under who received a Parenting Payment in 2015-16. And that if more is not done that 79 per cent of this group are still expected to be receiving income support payments in 10 years, with 57 per cent still expected to be receiving income support payments in 20 years,” Minister Porter said.

“The Coalition understands that continued improvement requires continued and focussed effort on these small groups of highest risk of long term welfare dependency and that is why today I am announcing four new and innovative initiatives under the Government’s $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund to further help improve the lives of young parents and encourage them into self-reliance.

“The four initiatives will trial new approaches aimed at helping young parents at key points in their parenting journey, to increase their chances of re-engaging with or staying in education and securing and maintaining meaningful employment.”

Initiatives for young parents:

  1. Train and Care initiative – $1.2 million – up to 135 young parents
    Providing a new practical training program for young parents in Western Sydney and regional New South Wales, coupled with guaranteed child care placements and entry-level work experience that could lead to a job.
  2. Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teens initiative – $4 million – up to 500 young parents
    Providing young parents with access to a mentor, and connecting expecting and parenting teens across Australia with health, education and employment support before and after the birth of their baby.
  3. Career Readiness for Young Parents initiative – $1 million – up to 60 young parents
    Providing young parents with a case manager to assist them in developing a career path, with the opportunity for work experience and access to child care support during their attendance.
  4. In-school Parent Employment Service initiative – $500,000 – up to 70 young parents
    An employment service specifically for young parents will be incorporated into two primary schools in the Armadale region of Perth. The in-school service will welcome parents from the school community to drop in and discuss their work and study pathways.

Young parents are one of three initial priority groups identified within the Priority Investment Approach data as being at high risk of long-term welfare dependency.

All initiatives will be tracked and the outcomes measured using a range of evaluation methods, such as surveys, participant interviews and the actuarial analysis from the Priority Investment Approach.

More information on funded young parent Try, Test and Learn Fund initiatives: