Tue, 08 Jan 2019 - 12:38
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Media Release: Welfare dependence drops to lowest level in 30 years

The proportion of working age Australians receiving welfare benefits has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years, Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said today.

New Department of Social Services analysis of recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics population data shows that 14.3 per cent of the working-age population was receiving working-age income support payments in June 2018.

This is a sharp drop on the previous year’s level of 15.1 per cent and markedly lower than the figure of 16.5 per cent when Labor left office.

“Our plan for a stronger economy is working,” Mr Fletcher said.

“We’ve created more than 1.2 million jobs and we’re getting people off welfare and into work.

“In fact, over the last year, full-time employment growth has accounted for 63.1 per cent of the total increase in employment.”

Mr Fletcher said the Government’s success stood in sharp contrast to Labor’s plan, announced today.

“Labor want to junk the principle of mutual obligation that has reduced welfare dependency to record lows and helped create 1.2 million new jobs. They want and consign many more Australians to a life of welfare dependency,” Mr Fletcher said

“Labor’s plan means welfare payments would balloon again and they’d be paid for by higher taxes on those working.

“It’s taken sustained hard work by the Liberal National Government to steadily bring down the share of the working population which depends on welfare.

“But Labor’s announcement today confirms that if they get into government they will abandon our successful approach.

“The figures are very clear - the share of the working population on welfare always goes up under a Labor Government.”


Mr Fletcher said labour force participation increased to 65.7 per cent in November 2018, which was close to a record high.

“We’ve brought unemployment down from 5.7 per cent when Labor left office to 5.1 per cent,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The best form of welfare is a job - and today’s figures show that our plan to generate more jobs and get more Australians off of welfare is working.”