Maintain a strong, sustainable safety net for the most vulnerable.
Preserve a targeted and compassionate welfare system and, where possible, remove the disincentives preventing people from working.
Hold a Productivity Commission inquiry into entrenched disadvantage, its causes, how to improve coordination across the levels of government and the international evidence on the best way of tackling it to provide pathways into steady work.
Entrenched disadvantage is inter-generational disadvantage and deep-rooted poverty stemming from a set of complex problems including poor education, chronic health conditions, mental illness, addiction and violence.
Agree with the guiding principles of Patrick McClure's 2015 review A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes:
Providing incentives to work for those who are able to work.
Providing adequate support to those who are not able to work.
Supporting participation in the workforce and society through measures that build capability.
Being affordable and sustainable now, in the future and through economic cycles.
And, being easy to access and understand, and delivered efficiently and effectively.
Review the adequacy of income support payments as part of a broader package to improve the ability of long-term unemployed Australians to return to work.
Income support should not act as a disincentive to working for those who are able to, but nor should it diminish the capacity of people to get a job.
Job seeking is not costless and should be accessible. If a bus fare or a collared shirt become unaffordable, then getting to job interviews and presenting as a credible employee may move out of reach.
Support the recommendations to simplify welfare payments, as outlined in the McClure review, into five payments. These are:
Tiered working age payment
Supported living pension
Child and youth payment
The age pension.
Improve the tax and transfer system to reduce high effective marginal tax rates which serve as a disincentive to enter work, increase time spent working or study.
Review the jobactive network to increase the incentives for people to work and be in work longer, including paying providers on the basis of successful and sustained job placements.
Improve the effectiveness of specialist job services networks for people with mental health issues and chronic disabilities.
Use digital technology to make welfare and social services more effective, simple and convenient for Australians receiving transfer payments (including a unique identifier for all Australians to better target welfare payments and ensure people in need do not slip through the net).
Embark on a holistic review of the retirement income system and the tax treatment of all savings income.
Read Jennifer Westacott’s National Press Club speech on the future of work hereor learn more here, or learn more about future employment services here.