Social Welfare in Australia
Social security in Australia is a system of social welfare payments provided by the Commonwealth Government of Australia. These payments are administered by the Department of Human Services. Most benefits are subject to a means test. Payments are made to a variety of groups of people; Indigenous students and New Apprentices, age pension, assistance for isolated children (families with a child who lives a fair distance from school), carers, disability support pension, foster families, maternity payment, people who are looking for employment, parenting payment, special benefit (financial hardship) and youth allowance. 7.1 million Australians were “customers” of Centrelink, many of which claimed from child care. The payments are paid for through general taxation. In Australia only citizens may claim these benefits. Centrelink is the agency which manages social security.
Australia gives out social welfare payments to ensure more equal dispersion of wealth and to assist the lower socio-economic population. In many people’s view in Australia it is the government’s responsibility to look after the less well off, whereas in other countries, for example China, people might rely on their immediate family, for instance to look after the elderly. Australia is the most “efficient” at reducing inequality of any rich country. In Europe, the United States and Japan, social security is financed by contributions from employers and employees, with benefits related to past earnings, therefore the higher income workers received more generous benefits if they become unemployed, disabled or retire. The rationale for Australia’s approach is that it reduces poverty more efficiently by concentrating the available resources on the poor and minimises adverse incentives.
“The extent to which the Australian welfare state redistributes to the poor is determined by the interactions between the tax and social security systems, both in terms of the size of...
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