Australian Government, 2005–06 Budget

Employment and Workplace Relations

Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005

The Government will provide $3.6 billion over five years to comprehensively rebalance Australia’s welfare system to make it more sustainable and to encourage increased workforce participation for those with the capacity to work. The changes recognise the importance of paid employment, whether full-time or part-time, to Australia’s prosperity and each individual’s own wellbeing.

The package includes a range of initiatives to assist and encourage participation in the workforce, including changed payment arrangements and increased employment programmes and services whilst retaining a strong safety net for those who need it. Changes to the Newstart income test will improve the returns from part-time work.

A new Comprehensive Work Capacity Assessment for people with disabilities will help ensure that obligations and services match an individual’s capacity.

The Job Network will remain the Government’s key mechanism for assisting job seekers. This will be enhanced by the addition of new services, such as an Employment Preparation service to support parents and mature age job seekers returning to work and a new Pre-vocational Assistance Participation Account to increase the range of services for people with disabilities. The package will also provide parents and those with disabilities with increased access to specialist disability employment assistance, support services and child care places. There will also be new arrangements for job seekers who have completed a second round of Intensive Support customised assistance in Job Network and are still looking for work.

A new compliance framework that incorporates suspension from payment for people not complying with their obligations will improve the integrity of the welfare system. There will now be a clear and direct link between receiving welfare payments and actively participating in employment services, looking for a job or upgrading personal skills and training.

Table 4: Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005
  2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 Total
  $m $m $m $m $m
EXPENSE MEASURES          
EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TRAINING          
Department of Education, Science and Training          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– enhanced Newstart Allowance Income test - 48.2 55.0 54.7 157.8
– increasing participation of people with a disability -1.5 2.5 6.0 10.4 17.4
– increasing participation of parents - 10.9 27.5 39.3 77.7
– expansion of vocational education and training to support participation - 25.5 13.2 3.9 42.6
– Increasing participation of the mature aged - 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.9
Sub Total -1.5 87.7 101.8 108.5 296.5
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– an improved compliance framework 21.1 65.0 78.9 76.2 241.3
– increasing participation of people with a disability 32.6 140.2 135.9 173.2 481.9
– evaluation and monitoring 2.2 3.0 3.2 2.8 11.2
– improved information technology to support participation 32.8 33.4 27.3 21.1 114.7
– communication strategy 8.7 11.1 8.9 0.2 29.0
– Employment Preparation - 16.7 20.8 10.3 47.7
– assistance for employers 7.0 14.7 15.3 13.0 50.0
– increasing participation of the very long term unemployed 4.7 100.0 117.1 138.1 359.9
– increasing participation of parents 26.5 90.7 163.0 2.2 282.4
– increasing participation of the mature aged 7.2 2.1 1.9 -5.5 5.6
– increase in the Mobility Allowance for certain recipients - 11.6 14.2 16.8 42.5
– enhanced Newstart Allowance Income test 2.3 187.3 290.4 305.1 785.2
Sub Total 145.1 675.8 876.9 753.6 2451.4
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES          
Department of Family and Community Services          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– enhance child care arrangements to support work participation 25.7 41.6 80.5 118.7 266.4
– increasing participation of parents - 2.5 7.1 11.3 21.0
– increasing participation of people with a disability - 11.0 18.3 26.0 55.3
Sub Total 25.7 55.1 105.9 156.0 342.8
HUMAN SERVICES          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– Comprehensive Work Capacity Assessments 0.8 105.3 107.3 102.7 316.0
– Pre-vocational Assistance Participation Account 0.2 26.8 28.4 25.1 80.5
Sub Total 1.0 132.1 135.7 127.8 396.6
Total Expense measures 170.3 950.7 1220.3 1145.9 3487.2
CAPITAL MEASURES          
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– improved information technology to support participation 40.1 12.8 5.8 0.5 59.2
– increasing participation of parents 0.2 - - - 0.2
– increasing participation of people with a disability 0.4 - - - 0.4
– increasing participation of the mature aged 0.1 - - - 0.1
Sub Total 40.8 12.8 5.8 0.5 59.9
HUMAN SERVICES          
Centrelink          
Welfare to Work Reform Package 2005          
– increasing participation of parents 7.7 - - - 7.7
– increasing participation of people with a disability 7.3 - - - 7.3
Sub Total 15.0 - - - 15.0
Total Capital measures 55.8 12.8 5.8 0.5 74.9
Welfare to Work — enhanced Newstart Allowance Income test
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.3 187.3 290.4 305.1
Department of Education, Science and Training - 48.2 55.0 54.7
Total 2.3 235.5 345.4 359.8

The Government will provide $943.3 million over five years (including $0.3 million in 2004-05) to enhance Newstart Allowance (NSA) and certain other allowances. This will encourage people to return to employment by reducing the impact of income earned on the rate of allowances payable.

The more generous income test changes will also apply to other allowances including Parenting Payment Partnered, Youth Allowance (other), Mature Age Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Partner Allowance.

Full NSA will continue to be paid while a person’s income remains below $63 per fortnight. Commencing 1 July 2006, income between $62 and $250 per fortnight will reduce NSA by 50 cents in the dollar, extending the current range by $108 per fortnight. For income above $250 per fortnight NSA will be reduced by 60 cents in the dollar rather than the current reduction of 70 cents in the dollar.

This measure includes funding of $157.8 million over three years for the Department of Education, Science and Training to reduce the current 70 per cent taper in the income test for Youth Allowance (student) and AUSTUDY to 60 per cent.

This more generous income test will allow people to obtain part time employment with a reduced impact on their income support payment.

Welfare to Work — increasing participation of people with a disability
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 32.6 140.2 135.9 173.2
Department of Family and Community Services - 11.0 18.3 26.0
Department of Education, Science and Training -1.5 2.5 6.0 10.4
Total 31.1 153.7 160.2 209.6
Related capital ($m)
Centrelink 7.3 - - -
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.4 - - -
Total 7.7 - - -

The Government will provide $562.3 million over four years (including $7.7 million in capital funding) to assist people with a disability to participate in the labour market to the full extent of their capacity.

People in receipt of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) prior to 1 July 2006 will remain on DSP with no part-time work obligation. They will be subject to the normal periodic review process for the DSP, usually every two or five years, which will apply the existing eligibility criteria (which is broadly whether that person is capable of 30 hours work per week at award wages).

People seeking to go on DSP on or after 1 July 2006 will have new eligibility criteria. They will receive DSP if they are assessed as being incapable of 15 hours of work per week at award wages. If they are assessed as being capable of 15-29 hours of work per week at award wages they will receive enhanced Newstart and be subject to an obligation to seek part-time work.

People applying for DSP between 11 May 2005 and 30 June 2006 will be assessed for eligibility for DSP under the existing test, that is whether they are able to work 30 hours per week at award wages. However, their ongoing eligibility will be reassessed in periodic reviews, usually every two or five years, against the new, 15-29 hour per week at award wages test, after 1 July 2006. If they are assessed as being capable of 15 hours per week at award wages they will have an obligation to seek part time work and will receive enhanced Newstart.

Substantial additional funding will be provided to assist people with disabilities into work. Additional funding of $87.2 million will be provided to fund an additional 31,700 places in Job Network over three years. The Personal Support Programme will be expanded by 7,500 places, at a cost of $15.4 million, to help those with disabilities become job ready. A further 11,600 places in Disability Open Employment Services will be funded at a cost of $97.3 million. An additional 17,400 places in rehabilitation services, at a cost of $86.4 million, will be provided to those who need rehabilitation.

As a result of the implementation of these initiatives, the former Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Disability Reform) Bill 2002, which lapsed at the end of the last parliament, will no longer be progressed. This has a net cost of $636.8 million over five years, including $7.0 million in 2004-05.

Under this package, the Department of Education, Science and Training will fund around 800 new places in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Programme and provide access to Austudy and Youth Allowance for those jobseekers. This will assist new job seekers to secure sustainable employment.

In addition, the Department of Family and Community Services will assist people with a disability to access the Carer Payment and the Special Benefit if they require this assistance.

Under this package, Centrelink will receive $93.3 million over four years, including $7.3 million of the capital funding, to assist with implementation of this policy.

People with disabilities will also benefit from the new Pre-vocational Assistance Participation Account — see related measure Welfare to Work —Pre-vocational Assistance Participation Account.

Welfare to Work — increasing participation of parents
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 26.5 90.7 163.0 2.2
Department of Education, Science and Training - 10.9 27.5 39.3
Department of Family and Community Services - 2.5 7.1 11.3
Total 26.5 104.2 197.6 52.9
Related capital ($m)
Centrelink 7.7 - - -
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.2 - - -
Total 7.9 - - -

The Government will provide $389.7 million over five years (including $0.7 million in 2004-05) to increase the participation of parents in the workforce. This measure will provide increased funding for a range of employment services and programmes from 1 July 2006 including Job Network.

Parents receiving Parenting Payment prior to 1 July 2006 will be able to remain on Parenting Payment under the current entitlement, that is, until their youngest child turns 16. Whilst remaining on Parenting Payment until this time, this group of parents will have a year to seek work voluntarily from the later of 1 July 2006 or when their youngest child turns 6. After that they will become subject to an obligation to seek part-time work. Sole parents on Newstart will continue to receive a pensioner concession card and Pharmaceutical Allowance. Partnered Parents on Newstart will continue to receive the Health Care Card.

Parents applying for Parenting Payment on or after 1 July 2006 will receive parenting payment while their youngest child is less than 6 years old. When their youngest child turns six, this group of parents will receive enhanced Newstart and be subject to an obligation to seek part-time work of at least 15 hours per week.

Substantial additional funding will be provided to assist parents into work. Additional funding of $227.5 million will be provided to fund an additional 84,000 places in Job Network to assist parents to find employment. Further support to parents to enter the workforce will be provided under related measures Welfare to work – enhanced child care arrangements to support work participation and Welfare to work – a new Employment Preparation Service.

The Department of Family and Community Services will receive funding of $21.0 million over the three years from 2006-07 to ensure that parents can access Carer Payment if they require this assistance.

The Department of Education, Science and Training will receive funding of $77.7 million over three years from 2006-07 for around 1800 new places in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Programme, to provide access to Austudy and Youth Allowance for those jobseekers. This will assist new job seekers to secure sustainable employment.

Under this package, Centrelink will receive funding of $360.9 million over 5 years, including capital funding of $7.7 million to assist with the implementation of this policy. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations will receive capital funding of $0.2 million for office accommodation.

Welfare to Work — expansion of vocational education and training to support participation
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Education, Science and Training - 25.5 13.2 3.9

The Government will provide funding of $85.8 million over four years to create additional vocational education and training (VET) places. Funding of $42.6 million over three years from 2006-07 will provide an additional 12,300 VET places for parents returning to the workforce and for mature aged workers who have been assessed as being capable of participating in the workforce.

Funding of $43.3 million over four years from 2005-06 will be redirected from the Government’s 2002-03 welfare reform package Recognising and Improving the Capacity of People with a Disability to provide an additional 7,600 VET places for people with a disability, for which funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

The additional places will assist these jobseekers to improve their skills and employability in the labour market.

Welfare to Work — increasing participation of the mature aged
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 7.2 2.1 1.9 -5.5
Department of Education, Science and Training - 0.5 0.2 0.2
Total 7.2 2.6 2.1 -5.3
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 - - -

The Government will provide $77.4 million over five years (including $0.3 million in 2004-05) to improve workforce participation by mature aged Australians on Newstart Allowance. From 1 July 2006, the same job search obligations will apply to persons aged 50 – 64 receiving Newstart Allowance as they do for other jobseekers. This measure is expected to lead to savings of $70.5 million over three years.

However, mature aged Newstart Allowance recipients will not be required to participate in work for the dole. Those aged over 55 will also be able to meet their obligations through part-time and voluntary work.

These arrangements will be supported by additional funding to provide access to the full range of labour market assistance available to job seekers. Additional funding of $54.7 million over three years will be provided to fund an additional 20,900 places in Job Network to assist the mature aged on Newstart Allowance to find employment. The Personal Support Programme will be expanded by around 1100 places at a cost of $3.3 million over three years to help the mature aged become job ready. In addition, a further 650 places in Disability Open Employment Services will be funded at a cost of $6.6 million over three years. Funding of $0.9 million over three years for around 320 new places in the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Programme will assist the mature aged to gain the skills necessary to secure sustainable employment. This includes capital funding of $0.1 million for accommodation and fit-out costs.

Welfare to Work — an improved compliance framework
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 21.1 65.0 78.9 76.2

The Government will provide $241.3 million over four years to implement an improved compliance framework. This includes funding of $198.2 million for Centrelink. The scheme will incorporate suspension of payments and is broadly consistent with the recommendations of the Breaching Review Taskforce. Under this model, job seekers who fail to meet a participation requirement will have their payment suspended unless there are reasons, provided to Centrelink, for their non-compliance. If job seekers have a sound reason for not complying with their obligation their benefit may be reinstated. Those job seekers who knowingly and regularly fail to comply with their job-search obligations may be subject to an eight week exclusion period from income support.

Welfare to Work — evaluation and monitoring
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.2 3.0 3.2 2.8

The Government will provide $11.2 million over four years to ensure that there is effective and timely monitoring and evaluation of the Welfare to Work reform package. This will include establishing the capacity to analyse and track in ‘real time’ the impact of the reforms through enhancements to information systems. This measure will contribute to a comprehensive picture of how the reforms assist people in their efforts to seek and maintain work.

Welfare to Work — improved information technology to support participation
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 32.8 33.4 27.3 21.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 40.1 12.8 5.8 0.5

The Government will provide $174.0 million over four years (including $59.2 million in capital funding) to ensure that the Welfare to Work reforms are supported by high quality information technology to provide streamlined servicing to job seekers. The improved systems will link all service providers, increasing opportunities for job seekers to have the provider of their choice and enabling more effective monitoring of service delivery standards.

The new integrated and streamlined service delivery model will allow rapid referral to, and between, appropriate employment assistance services and work capacity assessors, and access by service providers to up-to-date information on jobseekers. Job seekers will also have greater access to touch screen kiosks.

Welfare to Work — communication strategy
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 8.7 11.1 8.9 0.2

The Government will provide $29.0 million over four years to implement a communication strategy focusing on increasing workforce participation. The strategy will target the community as a whole and various groups, including people with disabilities, parents, mature age people and the long-term unemployed.

Welfare to Work — Employment Preparation
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - 16.7 20.8 10.3

The Government will provide $47.7 million over three years from 2006-07 to establish Employment Preparation services in Job Network which will provide a range of flexible and individually tailored pre-employment services. The services will be tailored to address the specific needs of parents, mature aged people and carers receiving Carers Payment.

Eligible job seekers with no recent workforce experience (two years or more) will have immediate access to Employment Preparation on commencement in Job Network. Those with recent workforce experience will receive Employment Preparation as part of Intensive Support services after three months participation in Job Network.

The Government will also provide 5,000 places in Employment Preparation for parents and mature age job seekers who are not on an income support payment. These people will benefit from having their vocational profile placed on the national vacancy data base to be matched with job vacancies. Access to Job Search Support Only services will continue after completion of Employment Preparation.

Welfare to Work — assistance for employers
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 7.0 14.7 15.3 13.0

The Government will provide $50.0 million over four years aimed at developing the job market so that employment opportunities are available to newly activated labour force participants.

The Government will work with industry groups and individual employers to create practical workforce opportunities for these participants. This will include for example, the provision of training for employers to effectively manage an ageing workforce. Other strategies include creating employment opportunities for workers with disabilities by providing additional assistance for employers through wage subsidies and the provision of workplace modifications.

Welfare to Work — increasing participation of the very long term unemployed
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 4.7 100.0 117.1 138.1

The Government will provide $360.2 million over four years (including capital funding of $0.2 million) to assist the very long term unemployed to get a job. Those job seekers who have completed a second round of Intensive Support customised assistance in Job Network, and are still unemployed, will be assessed for possible referral to additional assistance through Wage Assist and full time Work for the Dole places. Wage Assist would allow a Job Network member to offer an employer a wage subsidy equivalent to the person’s income support during a six month trial period. Those very long term unemployed who have a pattern of job avoidance may be required to participate in Work for the Dole for 25 hours per week for 10 months of each year.

Welfare to Work — increase in the Mobility Allowance for certain recipients
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - 11.6 14.2 16.8

The Government will provide $42.5 million over three years to increase the Mobility Allowance from $69.70 to $100 per fortnight and to expand eligibility for this payment. The increased Mobility Allowance will be paid to people if they are unable to use public transport without substantial assistance and have an obligation to seek work. Those who are receiving Disability Support Pension and working 15 hours per week may also be eligible. Those who are undertaking job search managed by an employment services provider, which involves seeking work of 15 hours or more per week, will also be eligible for the higher payment.

Welfare to Work — enhance child care arrangements to support work participation
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Family and Community Services 25.7 41.6 80.5 118.7

The Government will provide $266.4 million over four years to increase the number of child care places to support parents who are obliged to seek work under the new workforce participation obligations. Increases will be provided for Outside School Hours Care (84,300 places), Family Day Care (2,500 places), In-Home Care (1,000 places) and Jobs, Education and Training (JET) fee assistance.

The Government will focus the operation of the JET fee assistance programme on employment outcomes. JET provides child care fee assistance to eligible jobless parents undertaking study, job search activities and those who have commenced paid or unpaid work. Under this measure, parents who are studying will be eligible for assistance only if they undertake courses up to 12 months duration which provide for specific workforce preparation outcomes.

The Government will also modify the childcare work, training and study test. The number of hours of Child Care Benefit (CCB) a family will be eligible to receive without meeting the work test will be increased from 20 to 24 a week. To be eligible for more than 24 hours of CCB per week, both members of the couple or sole parent will need to demonstrate that they have an ongoing work, or work related activity, equalling at least 15 hours per week.

Funding provided under this measure includes CCB to be paid to eligible parents and funding for the establishment of new services.

Welfare to Work — Comprehensive Work Capacity Assessments
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Human Services 0.8 105.3 107.3 102.7

The Government will provide $316.0 million over four years to introduce a Comprehensive Work Capacity Assessment (CWCA) for people with disabilities. The CWCA will improve the matching of people to the income support payment and services that best reflect their capacity to work and their need for assistance in seeking work.

The new CWCA will provide a holistic assessment of an individual’s work capacity taking into account physical and mental disabilities or injuries, their current skills and any barriers they face in looking for work. Centrelink will use the CWCA to determine a person’s obligations and income support payment. The new CWCA will replace various existing assessment arrangements and will better match individuals to the employment services they need.

Welfare to Work — Pre-vocational Assistance Participation Account
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Human Services 0.2 26.8 28.4 25.1

The Government will provide $80.5 million over four years to establish a short-term pre-vocational assistance participation account to improve the capacity of certain job seekers to successfully participate in the labour market. The account will be available to work capacity assessment providers to fund short-term pre-vocational interventions, such as pain management courses, work conditioning and short-term mental health interventions.

Other measures in the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Asbestos Claims Management
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 20.8 0.9 1.1 1.0
Comcare - 22.8 23.6 23.3
Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee -0.4 -0.4 -0.4 -0.4
Department of Finance and Administration -1.0 -0.5 - -
Total 19.4 22.7 24.3 23.9
Related revenue ($m)
Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee -2.5 -1.9 -1.7 -1.7

The Government will provide $86.1 million over five years, including $0.4 million in 2004-05, for the centralised management of common law injury claims against the Australian Government involving asbestos-related diseases. A new policy function has been established in the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and, following the passage of enabling legislation, the management of non-Defence asbestos-related personal injury claims will be undertaken by Comcare.

The centralised approach will help ensure consistency in management of the Commonwealth’s asbestos-related disease liabilities and offer a single point of contact for statutory and common-law claimants, allowing more efficient and effective management of claims.

Claims against the Department of Defence or by former Australian Defence Force members will continue to be processed by the departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs, pending a review before July 2006.

The related revenue measure reflects the reduction in revenue for interest and contributions to the costs of settlements from non-Government agencies following the transfer of asbestos liabilities from the Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee to the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Centrelink Personal Adviser services — rationalisation
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations -2.6 -5.3 -5.3 -5.3

The Government will streamline Centrelink processes to ensure that job seekers are rapidly referred to the most appropriate employment assistance or other specialist services. In particular, this measure will ensure that Indigenous Australians, people recently released from prison, and those who have an activity test exemption or temporary medical incapacity are quickly reconnected to the labour market. This will include a rationalisation of Centrelink Personal Adviser services, which is expected to result in savings of $18.6 million over four years.

Employment Service Purchasing Arrangements
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations -62.1 -100.8 -129.8 -166.7

The Government will introduce a range of initiatives from 1 July 2005 to better target employment services provided by Job Network. The initiatives include adjusting the Job Seeker Classification Instrument (JSCI), which is used to identify the relative disadvantage of job seekers, to account for relative improvements in some labour market regions, as well as lifting the threshold at which job seekers are classified as highly disadvantaged to reflect improved labour market conditions generally. These initiatives are expected to result in savings of $457.4 million over four years.

To improve the integrity of the income support system, the Government has also decided to implement a new Rapid Connect Model, which will require activity tested Newstart and Youth allowance (other) claimants to register and attend an interview with a Job Network member before their income support payments can commence. This measure is expected to result in savings of $7.7 million over four years.

The Government will provide an additional $5.7 million over three years from 2005-06 to administer purchasing arrangements for Job Network and other employment services. From 1 July 2006, performance management arrangements will also be strengthened through the introduction of rolling local area level tenders for Job Network and the New Enterprise Initiative Scheme to allow poorly performing providers to be replaced.

Overall, base funding for Job Network totals $4.7 billion over four years from 2005-06, which is already included in the forward estimates. In addition, a further $503.5 million over three years will be provided from 2006-07 to assist new job seekers resulting from Welfare to Work reforms. (See related Welfare to Work measures: increasing participation of parents; increasing participation of the mature aged; increasing participation of people with a disability; and increasing participation of the very long term unemployed).

Income support payments — maintain funding for compliance checks
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Education, Science and Training - - - -
Department of Family and Community Services - - - -
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will provide $82.7 million over four years from 2005-06 to continue the targeted detection of incorrect income support payments and fraudulent claims. This includes data matching between Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office to determine undeclared income and property assets and responding to ‘tip-offs’ received from the public.

This measure is expected to lead to savings in social welfare payments of $536.3 million, leaving net savings of $453.6 million over four years. Provision for these net savings has already been included in the forward estimates.

Migration Occupations in Demand List
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1

The Government will provide $4.3 million over four years to enhance the effectiveness of skills targeting through the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL). This will include updating the MODL every six months rather than on an annual basis, improving the methodology for anticipating skills shortages, combining MODL with the National Skills Shortage List and adding 17 highly skilled occupations to MODL.

See also the related expense and capital measure titled System Enhancements to extend Skill Matching Database in the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio.

Occupational Health and Safety Advisers for small business
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 3.5 3.5 - -

The Government will provide $7.0 million over two years to establish a network of advisers to assist small businesses in complying with occupational health and safety laws and standards.

The national network of small business occupational health and safety advisers will be coordinated by a suitable employer, business or other organisation.

This measure was announced on 28 September 2004 as part of the Government’s election commitment Flexibility and Productivity in the Workplace.

Personal Support Programme — maintain funding
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -

The Government will provide $259.0 million over four years from 2005-06 to extend the Personal Support Programme. The Personal Support Programme bridges the gap between crisis services and employment assistance by assisting people on income support payments to address severe or multiple non-vocational obstacles that they might have to employment, such as homelessness, drug or alcohol dependency, mental illness or family breakdown.

This measure involves funding of $64.6 million in 2005-06, $64.8 million in 2006-07, $64.8 million in 2007-08 and $64.8 million in 2008-09. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Targeted assistance programmes — maintain funding
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -
Department of Family and Community Services - - - -
Total - - - -

The Government will provide $76.2 million in 2005-06 to extend funding to several components of the Australians Working Together (AWT) package for one year, to align the evaluation of these measures with the overall evaluation of AWT to be considered in the 2006-07 Budget context. This will maintain funding for initiatives primarily in vocational rehabilitation, open employment services and remote area servicing.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Transition to Work — renewal of lapsing programme
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -

The Government will provide $12.0 million in 2005-06 to extend the Transition to Work (TTW) programme for one year.

TTW commenced on 1 July 2002 and provides around 10,000 places each year to parent, carer and mature-age job seekers who are entering the workforce for the first time or wishing to re-enter the workforce after a two year absence. TTW offers assistance to individuals to build their self esteem and confidence and upgrade work and job seeking skills to improve their prospects of effectively participating in the workforce.

Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Working Age Payments — extension of waiting periods
Expense ($m)
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 1.5 -30.6 -44.9 -46.2
Department of Family and Community Services 0.2 -9.0 -12.0 -12.3
Department of Education, Science and Training 0.2 -3.4 -5.2 -5.3
Total 1.8 -43.0 -62.1 -63.8

The Government will implement a range of measures to enhance consistency in the eligibility conditions for the majority of working age payments, to ensure that income support is targeted towards those most in need. Under this measure:

  • The application of the Income Maintenance Period will be extended to claimants of the Disability Support Pension. The calculation of the Income Maintenance Period, for all working age payments except Carer Payment, will also be altered to include redundancy payments received on the termination of employment.
  • The Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will be extended to all working age payments (affecting the Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension and Parenting Payment Single) and altered to include the earnings of highly paid contract and intermittent workers.

This measure will be implemented in September 2006. It is expected to lead to savings in social welfare payments of $176.1 million over four years and will cost $9.0 million to administer, leading to net savings of $167.1 million.


Miscellaneous