Media Release by The Hon Dan Tehan MP

A new era of welfare

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

    The Hon Michael Keenan MP

The welfare system will help more Australians into work with reforms that have come into effect.

The new measures make the welfare system fairer, more equitable and easier to understand.

The new measures strengthen mutual obligation requirements and provide more incentives to help people move from welfare to work.

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said under the Turnbull Government’s strong economic management, job creation has been at record highs but we must ensure all Australians can take up these job opportunities.

“We want to see all job seekers fulfil their potential and have the best possible prospects of transition from income support into employment which is why we have made the welfare system simpler, fairer and more effective,” Ms Cash said.

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said the Turnbull Government wanted to help people get off welfare and into work.

“Australians expect a welfare system that helps people who need it, and respects those who pay for it,” Mr Tehan said.

Minister for Human Services Michael Keenan said the reforms removed many of the barriers that have prevented some job seekers from re-entering the workforce quickly.

“Things like drug and alcohol dependency will no longer be an excuse for not looking for a job,” Mr Keenan said. “However, you may seek treatment to meet your mutual obligations.”

“Evidence shows that job seekers who consistently meet those obligations are three times more likely to get off welfare and find work.”

Starting 1 July:

  • A new compliance framework based on a demerit points system – similar to how a driver’s licence operates – will target welfare recipients who are not serious about finding work, while providing greater protections for vulnerable job seekers. This includes a new online dashboard to make it easier for jobactive, Disability Employment Services and ParentsNext participants to view their mutual obligation requirements and assist them to take personal responsibility.
  • Job seekers will not be able to use drug or alcohol dependency to gain an exemption or use it repeatedly as a reasonable excuse for not meeting their mutual obligation requirements. Instead, people may participate in rehabilitation and treatment programs to prepare for getting a job.
  • Welfare fraud prosecution referrals will be more streamlined by allowing information obtained during administrative actions and investigations to be available to support subsequent criminal proceedings.
  • Job seekers subject to RapidConnect will be further encouraged to look for work as soon as possible, with payments now commencing from the date they attend their first employment service provider appointment.
  • The Department of Human Services can now collect Tax File Numbers from claimants before payments are approved.
  • Welfare claimants will generally receive payments from the date they lodge their claim, rather than from the date they first contact Centrelink. This will encourage social security claimants to provide timely and complete information in support of their claims. There will be exemptions for vulnerable claimants.
  • Payment rates for Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay will increase in line with increases to the national minimum wage. This will support working families to care for their young children and have continuity in their working lives.
  • Parents who receive an income support payment and have a nil rate due to employment income will no longer be exempt from the Family Tax Benefit Part A income test and the Parental Income Test for youth payments. This change removes inequity in the system and ensures families with the same income receive the same amount of Government assistance.