Welfare Crackdown to Improve Coalition’s Budget Bottom Line
28 June 2016 at 4:49 pm
The Coalition has revealed the federal budget would be improved by $1.1 billion over the next four years, largely due to a welfare crackdown and saving on unspent community and transport funds.
In releasing his election costings on Tuesday, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the Coalition would overhaul the “checks and balances in the system and use technology more effectively” to recoup the money.
“The measures which we are releasing today relates to strengthening our welfare system. We have a strong social welfare net in this country. As a former minister for social services I am very appreciative of the support for ensuring the integrity of the welfare net for those who need it. That’s why we have means testing in our welfare system,” Morrison said.
“We are not weakening the system, we are strengthening it, so those entitled to the payment and support which are important get that support, by ensuring that the system doesn’t have the leakage and the waste and the overpayments or the abuse of the system which at the end of the day cost Australian taxpayers.
“Eight out of 10 taxpayers go to work each day to ensure we can pay for our welfare system and we know the majority of those who receive those benefits… try and do the right thing but it is a complex system to try to engage with.
“The measures that we announce today go to assisting people that are in receipt of the welfare are better equipped to receive those benefits.”
Morrison said the plan included “practical measures that improve the efficiency of the social welfare system and that it delivers the savings that are central to what we have delivered here today for an improvement in the budget bottom line”.
However, welfare peak body ACOSS has strongly opposed further “crackdowns” on welfare payments to fund spending promises in this election.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said they were concerned about the Coalition’s proposals to take further funds out of the welfare system, while doing nothing to ensure income adequacy for those living on the lowest incomes.
She said the risks that the welfare “integrity” policy announced today could lead to significant hardship for vulnerable people affected if it results in more automated or aggressive debt recovery approaches.
“Australia’s lowest income earners and most vulnerable households have borne the brunt of Coalition savings measures in three successive budgets and enough is enough,” Goldie said.
“ACOSS strongly opposes taking any more money out of income support payments. This is the last place the Coalition should be looking for savings to fund new election spending promises.
“People are struggling to survive on $38 dollars a day Newstart payments which have not been increased in two decades.”