Wednesday, 25 February 2015

McClure report on welfare reform released

The much-anticipated final report into the welfare system, led by Patrick McClure, A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes, has been released today.
Further comment will emerge as the report is read and analysed by stakeholders and advocates. Here are some early media releases and reports:

McClure: Jobs plan welcome, concerns about tough eligibility rules
People with Disability Australia (media release), 25th February 2015
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) cautiously welcomes some key recommendations from the final report from the Reference Group on Welfare Reform released today while expressing concerns about eligibility rules that could see claimants needing to show they can’t work more than eight hours a week with incapacity expected to last at least five years.

PWDA urged the Government not to ‘cherry-pick’ the report by adopting recommendations which relate to income support savings and ignoring those which relate to building a disability and mental health jobs plan. This time the obligations must be mutual and the focus on incentives not penalties ...
Welfare review by Patrick McClure lays out plan for simplified payments, tightening eligibility for disability support
Anna Henderson and Eliza Borrello, ABC News, 25th February 2015
ABC: DSS simplified payment chart
- click here for a larger view
A wide-ranging review of the nation's $150 billion welfare system has laid out a plan for five basic payments and recommends tightening the eligibility for disability support. 
The Coalition commissioned the review in December 2013 and asked lead author Patrick McClure, a former head of Mission Australia, to find ways to save money and encourage more people to return to work. 
"The current system is complex and inefficient, it's very difficult to understand and navigate for people on income support, and in addition there are a lot of disincentives to work," Mr McClure said. 
His report called for simplification of the 20 income support payments and 55 supplementary payments, but said no-one should receive less money than they do now.
The report suggests there should be five primary payments: a tiered working age payment, a supported living pension, a child and youth payment, a carer payment and an age pension ... 
Complex and ineffcient welfare system doesn't meet needs of changing labour market: McClureMichael Brissendon, AM (ABC radio) 25th February 2015
Australia's $150 billion a year welfare system is complex, inconsistent and needs to be radically overhauled. That's the view of one of the country's leading experts on welfare payments. 
Patrick McClure says the current system includes 20 primary payments and 55 supplements and should be simplified down to five payments. 
The former head of Mission Australia also recommends tightening eligibility for the disability support payment, but says no-one should receive less money than they do now ...
New report calls for radical welfare overhaul
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald, 25th February 2015
Australia's $150 billion welfare system should be radically simplified to include just five primary payments, with upfront investment in people at risk of long-term unemployment, a major review has recommended. 
The review, ordered by the Abbott government in 2013, also recommends personalised "Passports to Work" to tell welfare recipients how their payments will change if they start work or increase their hours, to reduce people's fear about taking a job. 
The final report of the review conducted by former Mission Australia head Patrick McClure was released on Wednesday, noting that "many" people on the dole would be better off under the new system. 
It also stressed there should be measures in place to make sure "no individual moving from the old system to the new system will experience a reduction in their rate of payment". 
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison praised the report as "very useful" and "visionary" but noted it provided a framework for change in the long-term, not in the next few years ...
Disability Support Pension under fire as bill to write welfare cheques hits $3 billion per year
Simon Benson and Annika Smethurst, Daily Telegraph, 25th February 2015
... A landmark report into the country’s ballooning $150 billion annual welfare burden, released today, says the cost to the Budget is becoming unmanageable unless people are put back to work and the payments system streamlined. 
Former Mission Australia chief Patrick McClure’s report into ways to streamline the welfare system also recommends condensing 20 support payments to just five, and slashing 55 supplements to only a handful to make the system simpler to manage ...

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