Business Council statement on Australian priority investment approach to welfare

The Business Council of Australia welcomes the Turnbull Government’s Australian Priority Investment Approach, noting that the best way to achieve social progress for all Australians is through economic opportunity.

“This new approach will position the welfare system to be more sustainable and better focused on supporting people to become independent and successful in the labour market,” Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“The PricewaterhouseCoopers analysis clearly shows that current arrangements are not working. Many young people – students, parents and carers – are at risk of long-term income support dependence.

“The Business Council applauds the new policy’s data focused approach. This will better target spending to those who need it most and help track the impact of welfare payments on individuals.

“Ultimately, this should help ensure the welfare system is supporting people to transition into the labour market and make Australia’s estimated $4.8 trillion lifetime welfare cost more sustainable over the long-term. This will shore up Australia’s social safety net into the future.

“The government’s new $96 million Try, Test and Learn Fund is a practical measure to reduce people’s reliance on government support, providing funding to develop and pilot targeted programs.

“The success of these programs can now be more easily monitored, giving the government and the community confidence that the programs are delivering results. It also provides a mechanism to improve the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery options.

“It is important to recognise that welfare reform is only one part of the solution. Enduring prosperity for all Australians requires a competitive and growing economy, underpinned by strong businesses that are positioned to create more and better paid jobs. In the long run, workforce participation is essential to reduce reliance on the welfare system and provides individuals with the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

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