A Fairer Tax and Welfare System for Australia

A Fairer Tax and Welfare System for Australia
Author/editor: Phillips, B, Webster, R & Joseph C
Year published: 2023


This research paper was commissioned by the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc. to help address the inadequacy of the Australian welfare system for some groups, in particular working age recipients. The paper proposes three simple policy proposals designed to improve the financial position of Australians most in need.

The groups at most risk of deep poverty and financial stress are identified as persons receiving JobSeeker payments and working age pensions, defined in this paper as including Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payments (Single) and Carer Payments. Other groups also linked to poverty and financial stress are renters, single parents and young persons. This research paper highlights how additional spending targeted to these groups can maximise reductions in poverty and financial stress. We estimate the measures outlined in this paper would lower poverty by up to 834,000 people, or from 11.7 per cent to 8.6 per cent of the overall population.

The proposed policy changes add to the equity of the existing welfare system, providing extra assistance to those who are most likely to be in deep poverty and financial stress. Increases are proposed to JobSeeker, Parenting Payment (Single), Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment along with increases to low-income renters through increased Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA). The most generous policy proposal includes an increase to Family Tax Benefits.

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