Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Welfare Reform to ensure parents meet responsibilities

“The welfare reform changes announced today by the Prime Minister are a key measure to address child neglect and ensure all children have the opportunity for an education,” Minister for Families, Community services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“Australians expect that parents receiving welfare provide appropriate care for their children and that they attend school.

“The measures announced today will mean that where parents are not meeting these obligations action can be taken to ensure welfare payments are directed to their intended purpose.

“The measures will provide the states and territories a mechanism to help ensure parents provide appropriate care for their children.

“In cases where state child protection authorities are concerned that parents are at risk of neglecting their children, they will be able to notify Centrelink to have income management apply to these parents.

“Managing the welfare income of these parents will mean that we can be more certain that the needs of children and parental responsibilities are being met.

“Importantly, no child will miss out as no parent or carer will lose any welfare payments as a result of these initiatives.

“No one would argue against the principle that every child has the right to an education.

“This element of the package focuses on school enrolment and attendance.

“Our first priority will be identifying children not enrolled in school. We will work with the states and territories as well as non government schools to do this. I am confident that all parties will want to work with us in a cooperative manner to ensure the best outcomes for children.

“Once accomplished we will then focus on unacceptable school attendance and where this is occurring, income management will be applied to welfare payments until enrolment and attendance requirements are met.

“A National Benchmark for school attendance will be set in consultation with the states and territories.”

Further information can be found at FaCSIA website or by calling 1800 888 803 from Monday 16th July.