In December 2013, the Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Kevin Andrews MP, commissioned a review of Australia’s welfare system, with the aim of identifying changes ‘to ensure the social support system is sustainable, effective and coherent, and encourages people to work.’ The Reference Group’s interim report, A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes (often referred to as the McClure report), was released recently for public comment.
In our submission in response to the interim report, YACVic outlines why young people, notably those with disabilities, are likely to be disproportionately affected by proposed changes to the income support system, and expresses disappointment that this review has not engaged young stakeholders actively in the consultation process to date.
We would welcome any initiatives which support young people to increase their employment participation in a way which improves their wellbeing and life prospects. However, we express concern at several aspects of the report, especially in light of the controversial and punitive initiatives to limit young people’s access to income support announced in the 2014-15 budget. Further work is needed to ensure that any reforms are focused firmly on the wellbeing and security of vulnerable Australians, and that all stakeholders – including young people and people with disabilities, and the services that support them – have meaningful opportunities to contribute to the reform process.