Media Release by The Hon Christian Porter MP

Thousands of young students no longer relying on welfare

Thousands of young students are no longer depending on welfare as a result of the Coalition Government’s strong focus on improving lives and getting people into jobs.

Announcing the latest round of Try, Test and Learn initiatives in Sydney today, the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said 4,860 fewer students had moved from student payments to income support between June 2015 and June 2016.

“What this result means is that between 2015 and 2016 there were 4,860 people more likely to become self-reliant through long-term employment rather than falling into the welfare trap after finishing study,” Minister Porter said.

“Significantly, it is estimated that this reduction can save the Australian taxpayer $410 million in future lifetime welfare costs.”

Minister Porter said that due to the strong focus on improving lives, providing better education and employment outcomes and reducing welfare dependency, there had also been a significant overall reduction in the number of students moving from student payments to income support under the Coalition Government. In June 2017 there were 27 per cent fewer students moving to unemployment benefits than under Labor in June 2013.

Despite these decreases, Minister Porter said there was still more work to be done to help young people move from study to employment.

“We know that we must be innovative in our approach to helping people break cycles of welfare dependency and move into self-fulfilling employment and that is why we launched the Priority Investment Approach to Welfare and the $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund last year,” he said.

“Today, I am announcing an investment of $12.8 million under that Fund for seven trial initiatives aimed at helping young students at risk of unemployment, and unemployed former students, find work.

“These initiatives will either support students in meeting their academic and employment aspirations though practical work experience, resilience training, goal setting, and counselling, or assist former students with the transition from study to the workforce.”

Initiatives for Current Students

Three projects – 10,000 students – $4.7 million

  1. Rewire the Brain initiative – $1.8 million
    As an Australian first, this initiative will use computer programs and face-to-face neuroplasticity training to arm 240 TAFE students in Brisbane and Sydney with the necessary tools to get work.
  2. Strengthening students’ resilience initiative – $1.3 million
    An innovative behavioural-based mobile app and behaviourally informed nudge text messaging to help 10,000 students across New South Wales achieve their goals.
  3. Support for Vocational Education and Training (VET) students initiative – $1.6 million
    An individualised one-on-one support service to help 400 students in Adelaide, Brisbane, regional Queensland and New South Wales stay in school and go on to get a job.

Initiatives for Former Students

Four projects – 1,000 students – $8.1 million

  1. Build and Grow initiative – $2.4 million
    Providing 480 former students in Western Sydney with practical job training and support to address individual barriers to finding work.
  2. Mentoring to Work initiative – $2 million
    Pairing up to 360 former students in Perth with mature volunteer mentors with strong business and workplace connections who will help support them through the employment process.
  3. Y4Y Youth Force initiative – $1.4 million
    In a social policy first, 80 former students in Melbourne, Perth and Hobart will be connected to employment opportunities in the task-based or gig economy, which will improve their long-term work prospects.
  4. My Maintenance Crew initiative – $2.3 million
    Through a social enterprise model, 125 former students in Geelong will be provided with education, personal development opportunities, mentoring and counselling to prepare them for long-term employment in the ‘hands-on’ vocations sector.

Minister Porter said that Priority Investment Approach data showed students who move from study to a period of 12 months of unemployment are expected to have higher future lifetime welfare costs at an average of $282,000 per person. If nothing changes, 39 per cent will be receiving income support payments in 10 years, and 30 per cent will be receiving income support payments in 20 years.

“Investing in trial initiatives through the Try, Test and Learn Fund will build an evidence base that informs future investments in projects that improve the lives of students at risk of unemployment, and as a consequence give taxpayers value for money.”

The impact of all initiatives will be tracked using a range of evaluation methods, such as surveys, participant interviews and actuarial analysis.

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