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Morrison maps out welfare changes

Mothers, young people and women over 65 will be encouraged to get off welfare and into work under proposals being considered by the government.


On the same day he delivered a major report into welfare reform, Social Services Minister Scott Morrison outlined three areas he was keen to pursue in the May budget and beyond.

Parents, especially single mothers, should be encouraged to work by making child care more affordable and simpler, he said.

Seniors, especially women, should remain in the workforce as long as they could.

“Because it’s good for their families, it’s good for their income, it’s good for their support,” Mr Morrison told the National Press Club on Wednesday.

And young people should be either learning or earning and prevented from a life of welfare dependency through early intervention programs similar to those in New Zealand.

Mr Morrison said the system needed reform, but would not be drawn on whether he was likely to accept advice to reduce the number of welfare payments to just five.

That is a recommendation of the McClure welfare review which argues for a tiered working-age payment, supported living pension, child and youth payment, carer payment and the age pension.

The minister said long-term reform should not be rushed, but wanted to lay the groundwork for Australians to start thinking about necessary, but hard, changes.

“What we sew now in apathy will be reaped in a future harvest for generations who will not get the safety net provided by those who went before us,” Mr Morrison said.


* People with a disability, parents, carers, students and the jobless would get a tiered working-age payment recognising their ability to work.

* Those with a more severe disability who cannot work more than eight hours a week would get a supported living pension.

* A means-tested payment would be paid to parents or guardians with kids under 22, but conditional on regular immunisations and school attendance.

* A means-tested payment for carers.

* No change to existing age pension payment.

* Supplements for housing, child and family, education and carer and disability costs.

* No reduction in the value of payment rates.

* A “Passport to Work” that ensures no disincentives to work if employment hours change and ensures retention of concession cards.