Welfare Reform proposal overlooks Australia’s voluntary contributions

Volunteering Australia appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 in Melbourne, where we voiced strong opposition to the proposed change to Annual Activity Requirements for people on income support aged 55 to 59.

The proposed amendment seeks to force people aged 55 to 59 on income support to cease half of their activity requirement currently met through volunteering, in favour of job search or another job-related activity, like Work for the Dole.

Volunteering Australia is concerned that the proposed tightening of the activity requirements in Schedule 9 of the Bill could move people away from volunteering positions, which will have a profound impact on the volunteering sector.

Volunteering Australia CEO Adrienne Picone said, “The tightening of the activity requirements will do little to improve the job prospects of older Australians, who are an already disadvantaged and discriminated group in the labour market. The barriers to employment are multiplied if you are an older jobseeker with a disability, from a CALD background, are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or have a mental illness.”

Volunteering Australia have also signed the Civil Society Joint Statement calling on the government to ‘Strengthen the social safety net. Stop tearing it apart.’ The Joint Statement is in response to current Social Services Amendment Bills, two of which Volunteering Australia have provided responses to.

We call on government to focus on strengthening our social safety net to reduce poverty and inequality in Australia. 

Read our media statement here.
Read Volunteering Australia’s submission on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 here.
Read the Civil Society Joint Statement to Strengthen the social safety net. Stop tearing it apart.
Sign the petition to help people out of poverty.