Coalition MPs want more Australian parents back at work, after new figures showed they were financially better off not getting a job, getting at least $45,000 a year tax-free.
A new report in The Australian today states their income is more than the take-home pay of most Australian workers.
As the Turnbull government continues its attempt to reform the welfare sector, new government data obtained by The Australian revealed that the top 10 per cent of those on parenting benefits, about 43,200 people, received at least $45,032 in 2014-15.
The amount they get is increased if they have several children and claim multiple welfare benefits, like childcare rebates.
Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the new data showed that taxpayer-funded benefits could be leading to a disincentive to work.
Christopher Pyne also told the Nine Network’s Today Show today that more people need to be working, not on welfare.
“We do have a generous safety net, but also, people need to be part of our society, part of our community, working and making a difference,” he said.
One of the government’s first measures to change the system is a $96 million ‘Try, Test, Learn’ fund for trials of intervention programs to help welfare dependent young families.
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) October 27, 2016
Mr Pyne said it was designed to help families, especially single parent households, to get back into the workforce with training.
“Ninety six million, I can tell you, to try and do that, is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions of dollars that we are trying to save by having welfare reform, which the Labor Party is blocking in the Senate with the Greens,” he said.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the opposition will examine the impact of proposed changes.
He pointed to the coalition government’s planned wind back of paid parental leave to stop some women from “double-dipping”.
“It is a disadvantage for them being in the workforce if these cuts to paid parental leave go through,” he said.
Mr Porter, who is leading the welfare changes, told The Australian depriving people the incentive to work was in no one’s interest.
“It is morally incumbent upon us in that in developing policy … and in making the welfare system fairer we look at mutual obligation and the requirement to prepare for, search for and accept work,” he said.
“We need to find better ways to ensure parents retain current, work-ready skills or develop them, even when receiving welfare so they are prepared for and able to accept work when it becomes appropriate for them to do so.”
The Australian reports that figures from the Australian National University show the median fulltime wage for 2014-15 was $61,300 a year. After tax, this leaves the median wage at $49,831. But the median overall wage — including part-time workers — was $46,500, which equates to $39,841 as take-home pay after tax.
In his speech at the National Press Club last month, Mr Porter warned that without welfare reform, the nation’s national welfare spend would be $4.8 trillion.
Online Source: News.com.au.