Daily News - Thursday 26 February 2015

Posted 26 February 2015 11:59am



Scott Morrison flags 'incremental' introduction of 'necessary' welfare changes

Emma Griffiths - ABC

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison says wholesale changes to the welfare system are "necessary", but he has signalled they will be introduced slowly and in stages.

A wide-ranging review commissioned by the Government has called for a simplified payment system and tighter eligibility conditions for disability support payments.

Mr Morrison said the proposals could be implemented in the medium to long-term.

"They do point a way forward, I believe, for the next generation of necessary change in this area," he said at the National Press Club (NPC).

"The changes proposed and the way to achieve them are not revolutionary but medium to long-term change that can be achieved incrementally."

However, he acknowledged the Government would be battling a widespread lack of "appetite for change" and called for an "upgrade" in the political debate about levels of welfare support.

"My concern is that right now there seems to be no appetite for the change that is necessary," he said.

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Report recommends parents receive welfare payments until their children are 22 years old

The News

Young people should have government benefits paid to their parents instead of their own accounts — until they turn 22 — under changes proposed to the welfare system.

A report into Australia’s social security system has suggested simplifying welfare payments and places responsibility for financial support of young people firmly on their parents.
The review led by Patrick McClure AO, noted that children were leaving home later, and suggested that if they were eligible for payments, this should be provided to their parents instead of being deposited into the young person’s account.

Currently students are generally able to access their own welfare payments once they are 18 years old, and younger if they worked full-time, have a child or are unable to live at home due to extreme circumstances.

The move to increase the age to 22, is part of a larger proposed overhaul of the welfare system, which could see 20 benefits restructured into five payments. This would see the dole become a tiered Working Age Payment. There would be a Supported Living Pension, means tested Child and Youth Payment, Carer Payment and Age Pension.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert said giving welfare payments to parents of anyone under 22 years old was an “unworkable” idea.

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Time to upgrade the Australian political debate as well as the welfare system: Scott Morrison

Judith Ireland - The SMH

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has made a plea to "upgrade" the quality of political debate in Australia, arguing that unless it is improved, reform in his portfolio will not be possible.

Mr Morrison told the National Press Club that debates around Australia's $150 billion welfare system and $7 billion childcare payments should not simply be about "whether we are better or worse off as a result of any individual measure".

"It's about, 'will the next generation be better or worse off?'"

In his first address to the club as Social Services Minister, Mr Morrison lamented that "apathy" today would result in a terrible "harvest" in the years to come.

"My concern is that right now there seems to be no appetite for the change that is necessary," he said on Wednesday, referring specifically to the community, Parliament, opposition and crossbench.

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Indigenous leaders reveal Tasmanian locations facing Aboriginal land rights claim

Jane Ryan - ABC

Tasmania's Aboriginal Land Council has revealed details of a land rights claim set in motion in mid-2014 and urged the State Government to speed up its response.

The land council said West Point Aboriginal site in the state's north-west, along with Sundown Point and Trial Harbour on the west coast, were among the areas of land claimed.

The claim also includes Mt William National Park, Eddystone Point Lighthouse and Bay of Fires in the east.

Clyde Mansell from the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania said the claim was made in July last year.

"What I was striving to do is identify the areas of significance throughout the state," he said.

"We talked about Rocky Cape as an area that holds significant cultural caves and very important cultural landscape.

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