Needs a better basis of help

WHEN every government decision is marketed as “reform”, it’s hard to distinguish real reform from short-term budget fixes such as depriving young people of unemployment payments for six months, a requirement to search for 40 jobs a month, and payment cuts for low-income families.

These ideas came as a shock to community organisations and affected people and attracted widespread opposition.

In the middle of this, the government’s welfare review panel released a report on, among other things, reform of payments for people of working age. ­Despite the real concerns we have about many of the government’s recent social security policies, the Australian Council of Social Service is participating in the review because it’s an ­opportunity to solve longstanding problems.

This is where the government should have started: with a properly structured social security review that identified the problems to be solved, and worked with the community to find the solutions. That’s how reform is usually achieved…

It’s time for the government to reset its social security policies and reform the safety net instead of shrinking it.

This is an extract of a speech which Australian Council of Social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie will deliver today at the Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference 2014 on the Gold Coast.
View the extract on the Australian – here