Welfare Dependency Debate - Past its Use-by Date
14 April 2011 at 2:58 pm
The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) says the “get tough on welfare recipients” mantra is well past its use-by date.
The ACWA says the latest debate on welfare dependency, sparked by Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech to the Sydney Institute, is an old hackneyed argument that involves marginalised and disadvantaged Australians being used unashamedly for political ends.
ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum says politicians of all persuasions need to realise that they are the ones who have created the problems by failing to provide incentives, structural reform and opportunity in this area over many decades.
McCallum says pejorative clichés do not cure mental illness, nor provide affordable housing.
The Association of Children's Welfare Agencies is the New South Wales peak body representing non-government organisations which provide services to vulnerable children, young people and their families.
In her speech to the Sydney Institute, the Prime Minister spoke of Labor’s extensive welfare reform reiterating the familiar “tight budget” message in the lead up to next month’s Federal Budget.
As she has in a number of recent speeches, Gillard talked about the dignity of work and foreshadowed a tightening of social welfare in the Budget.
Gillard said that relying on welfare to provide opportunity was no longer the right focus for our times and she wanted to help individuals, families and communities whose worklessness has seen them excluded from society and the economy through decades of economic growth.
She said the people she was talking about included people whose lives present “hard cases”.
She said she is firmly convinced that the economic and social policy arguments for getting these people into work are overwhelming and it’s not right to leave people on welfare and deny them access to opportunity.
Nor is it fair, she said, for taxpayers to pay for someone who can support themselves.