Abbott Govt to Take Axe to Social Welfare
One of the main protagonists of WorkChoices Kevin Andrew, has signalled that the Abbott government plans to take the axe to Ausrtralia’s welfare system telling The Gutter Trash that too many people rely on government welfare for their livelihood.
According to the Minister for Just for Men, more than five million people now receive government welfare in one form or another,” he said.
Arguing the case for a tougher approach accessing welfare payments, Mr Andrews is calling for a “10-year review” of Australia’s welfare system.
“We need to ensure that over time, in the long term, the welfare system remains sustainable,” Mr Andrews said.
“Our view is that the best form of welfare is work. If people are capable of work and if work’s available then we want to encourage as many Australians as possible to work.”
The Abbott government was already working towards that goal, through incentives to encourage people to work, Mr Andrews said.
He cited policies including $2500 payments for those under 30 who take themselves off welfare and get a job for 12 months. He also cited payments for Australians who move from cities to regional areas for a job.
The former chief executive of Mission Australia, Patrick McClure, has been appointed to lead Mr Andrews’ review of Australia’s welfare system and he is expected to report back in February.
Parenting payments and the disability support pension were two areas of welfare that “would be sensible to review again”, Mr Andrews told the ABC.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urged the Prime Minister to rule out any changes to the old age pension, including slowing the rate of its growth.
Mr Shorten said if Mr Abbott was serious about reducing welfare he should ”get rid of the multimillionaire’s welfare”.
”Get rid of this gold-plated paid parental scheme,” Mr Shorten said.
”If they want to tackle the real problems, don’t start at the bottom of the heap,” he added. ”Don’t start at the people who haven’t got a voice… Don’t pick on the people who can’t fight back.”
Over the past few weeks, Mr Andrews has used announcements in The Australian newspaper to warn the public of his plans to crack down on welfare payments.
Mr Andrews flagged the idea of preventing welfare recipients from refusing to take a job on the grounds that it was more than 90 minutes travel from their home.
“We want to encourage people to take a job even if there are circumstances where that job might be further away,” Mr Andrews said.
In a story last week, Mr Andrews said it was his “inclination” to consider splitting the Newstart unemployment benefit into different “tiers”, which could apply to the payment rate or the conditions attached to receiving it.