This submission responds to the Australian Government’s 2014 Review of Australia’s Welfare System.

It recommends that reforms to the income support system should:

  • Focus on maximising civic participation: support and reward both employment and social activation, including volunteering, learning and other forms of independent participation.
  • Ensure rates of income support adequately meet the needs of people: any reforms that result in people being transferred onto participation payments must not result in them being in a worse off net financial position.
  • Emphasise a strengths-based approach to participation requirements, over narrow or punitive mutual obligation measures.
  • Strengthen Rent Assistance: reforms to apply Rent Assistance to public housing should only take place as part of comprehensive reform that leaves no public housing tenants worse off.
  • Develop a jobs plan that outlines strategies and invests in opportunities for vulnerable people to gain employment.
  • Invest in support that builds the capacity of people to participate in economic and civic life: for the most vulnerable, this should be a highly coordinated and integrated support-learning-employment chain.
  • Empower local communities to improve social and economic outcomes through investment in local leadership, coordination and governance mechanisms.
  • Adequately resource and skill-up local leadership, coordination and governance mechanisms to engage with different groups across communities, particularly the most vulnerable.

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Submission to the Review of Australia's Welfare System