McClure Report Good for Australian Jobs – NFP
Monday, 2nd March 2015 at 9:43 am
Jobs Australia, the national peak body for more than 220 Not for Profit organisations that assist disadvantaged people to find work, has welcomed the controversial McClure Report on welfare reform.
CEO of the organisation, David Thompson, said the report presented an opportunity for the Government to engage in a discussion with the community about the type of welfare system Australia needs in the future.
“This is one of those areas of policy where reforms have been ad-hoc, public discussion has been highly politicised and the result is a system that is more complicated than it should be,” Thompson said.
“This report is an excellent starting point for a discussion about simplifying the system and making sure the right supports are in place to get more people into work”.
“The Government should abandon piece-meal reforms, such as punitive six-month non-payment periods for job seekers under 30 years of age, so that we can have a proper discussion without the threat of more punitive measures hanging over the heads of the poor and vulnerable like the sword of Damocles”.
Thompson said that although more detail was needed on many recommendations, and the Government would need to be steadfast in its commitment that nobody should be worse off, the overall direction set out in the Report was right.
“Much depends on crucial details such as rates of payment and eligibility arrangements for each of the proposed payments,” he said.
“Everybody goes through events in their life that can impact on their engagement with the labour market.
“Everybody deserves to have the support of an adequate safety-net if they need it, and people deserve to be genuinely supported in their path back to work”.
Thompson said the recommendations for an investment approach, based on a model developed by the New Zealand Government, were particularly important.
“The investment approach is critical if we are to develop a better understanding of what support services work best, for whom and when,” he said.
“It goes to the heart of evidence-based policy. It means that we can try an intervention or program, see exactly how effective it is in terms of dollars saved on our future welfare bill, and start investing in programs that demonstrably work.”
Thompson said initially, truly effective welfare reform would require significant additional spending.
“Trying to do this on the cheap and with a more sticks and less carrots approach won’t work,” he said.
“Mr McClure has provided a good framework for the detailed blueprint the government must now develop. We know from past experience that getting policy and implementation details right represents a huge challenge for any government. We’re keen to help in that process”.
Last week Pro Bono Australia News reported that many Not for Profit organisations had cautiously welcomed Patrick McClure’s review.