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Submission to the Inquiry into Intergenerational Welfare Dependence

Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Inquiry into Intergenerational Welfare Dependence.

The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry call on submitters to examine the reasons for welfare dependence, with particular focus on why some families require welfare assistance for short periods only and why others become ‘trapped’ in the system. The Discussion Paper calls for responses from stakeholders on how to develop welfare policy and programs that reduce the dependency of family and children on welfare support.

Jesuit Social Services challenges the fundamental premise underlying the Terms of Reference and Discussion Paper. Intergenerational access to income support should not be viewed as a problem in and of itself. Rather, it should be understood as a symptom of the intergenerational disadvantage that some individuals and communities experience. It is this complex, entrenched disadvantage that should demand the attention of governments. Jesuit Social Services maintains that intergenerational disadvantage must be addressed with both short and long-term investments and initiatives.

Jesuit Social Services supports the call to immediately raise Newstart by $75 to lift recipients out of poverty and reflect cost-of-living demands. An independent social security commission should be established to guide parliament on future changes to income support rates and monitor indexation settings.

To effectively and practically address complex intergenerational economic and social marginalisation, place-based approaches are needed over the long-term.

Jesuit Social Services firmly believes that the voice of people experiencing complex, entrenched, intergenerational disadvantage must be at the forefront of policy formation. In order to ensure the Inquiry develops a holistic and grounded view of the lived experience of entrenched disadvantage, and the strengths and resilience displayed by people living in communities facing multiple challenges, we invite the Select Committee to listen to the voices of people experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage.

Download your copy of our Submission to the Inquiry into Intergenerational Welfare Dependence