Welfare Report: One in Four Australian Families Relies on Social Security Payments for Survival

By @reissasu on

According to the bi-annual report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, one in every four households lives on social security payments.  The annual cost of welfare has increased to $119 billion, equivalent to $1,300 for every person including children. 

The new federal government report also revealed Australian taxpayers are paying more for welfare than healthcare. Spending on welfare for households soared 0.7 per cent which is a rate faster than inflation.  Pension or payments to the elderly also grew 3.3 per cent.  Social security payments for the disabled also rose to 6.6 per cent. 

Welfare spending has increased since the global financial crisis with social security payments using making up 34.5 per cent of government funds in 2010 and 2011. Welfare payments were only 29.3 per cent from 2007 to 2009. 

It is worth noting that 26 years ago, former prime minister of Australia from the Labor party had declared that by 1990, no child in Australia would live in poverty. 

However, the latest welfare data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed that 13 per cent of the population lives in poverty with no means of income in 11.6 per cent of families.  Households living in poverty meant having an annual income below $20,000.

The school dropout rate among Australia's youth has not changed despite a decade of government intervention to make them "earn or learn".  Only 1 in 14 teens and 1 in 8 young Australians from Generation Y, aged 20 to 24, are neither studying nor working. 

The number of abused and neglected children has also increased by 18 per cent between 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 based on confirmed cases by authorities.  The number of children in foster care has also jumped to 27 per cent.

The report also indicated that one in every 200 Australians has no home.  Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service said that whoever will win in the federal election will have to spend more funds on wage subsidies to motivate the jobless to seek employment.  This is a better alternative rather than paying for unemployment benefits. 

Ms. Goldie said Australians without jobs need to undergo "targeted training" to find suitable work instead of just training them to "keep them busy".  She said the increase in welfare costs has been linked to the ageing population in Australia and reliance on aged pension. 

The latest federal report combined spending by federal, state and local governments in adding the total cost of welfare services and social security payments.  

Despite the growing cost of welfare, the Australian Labor Party said it was proud of its continuing support for struggling households.  The Coalition has declared providing people with jobs was the best kind of welfare. 

Kevin Andrews, Opposition spokesman on families, said the Coalition will promote economic growth to reduce the Australians' reliance on welfare and motivate them to look for jobs.