Kevin Andrews: The Days Of Easy Welfare For Young Australians Are Over

Declaring that “the days of easy welfare for younger Australians are over”, the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, has announced that the Abbott government will promote a system of “earn or learn” for people under 30 and put in place a review of the Disability Support Pension.

AndrewsSpeaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Andrews said new recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) over the past 5 or 6 years would be expected to seek work if they were judged sufficiently able.

Andrews said: “The message is this: we expect people who are capable of working to do so.”

Around 800,000 people receive the DSP. Andrews said statistics indicated there was no point in reassessing most recipients after they have been on the payment for six years.

Andrews said the government would promote a system of “earn or learn” for people under the age of 30. Young people would be expected to participate in training programs or have a job search program. “We’re no longer going to support easy welfare for people who want to sit around on the couch at home,” Andrews said.

Andrews said reforms to be announced in next week’s Budget would be the first phase of ongoing welfare reform under the Abbott government. The McClure inquiry will make further recommendations for welfare reform in the next six months and he would be taking further reforms to the Cabinet then. He said welfare payments have developed in an ad hoc manner and there is a need for structural change.

Asked about criticism of Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann, who were yesterday pictured smoking cigars, Andrews said: “We don’t live in a nanny state.”

With just three days until the Budget, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has devoted his weekly video message to emphasising the government’s commitment to responsible economic management.

  • Listen to Andrews (12m)
  • Watch Abbott (2m)
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