The government has pledged to upgrade the welfare payment system, in order to better assist those most in need, and eliminate the frequency of welfare fraud.
The government will invest around $60 million to upgrade the Department of Human Services (DHS) information processing systems, in order to meet the demands of the digital world. Improvements to the integrity of the welfare system should result in net savings of around $1.5 billion over four years, by increasing DHS capability to detect welfare fraud and non-compliance, and reducing the number of payouts to those who should not be entitled.
Along with the DHS upgrade, the government is looking to improve the fairness of the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP), by recovering debts from students who received taxpayer funded loans to pay for their education and who are now living and working overseas.
And, in what has already become a budget buzzword, the government will remove ‘double-dipping’ from Parental Leave Pay (PLP) for individuals who are already receiving employer-funded parental leave entitlements. As it stands, the PLP scheme is a safety net for employees whose employers don’t offer a parental leave payment plan. If an employer already has a parental leave scheme in place, which may have been negotiated as an employee’s employment rights, the government will no longer pay out.
How does this benefit retirees?
The government estimates that these measures will return around $3.5 billion to the Budget, which will help to make the welfare system fairer and more sustainable, improving the ability to provide targeted payments and support for those who need it most.