Social support is the key to ensuring people can continue to live with dignity, and it is an important part of the Government’s social and economic recovery strategy.
It has been an ongoing focus for Government since the crisis, with funding for the social security system being set to increase from $12.4 billion in 2013-14 to $19.6 billion in 2020-21.
As a result, there is a need for an overhaul of the existing system.
A key part of that reform will be to ensure that people are able to access the services they need without having to rely on government benefits, including social security.
The Government is set to deliver a range of initiatives to ensure this, including: providing more than $1.3 billion to the Commonwealth Social Support Network (CSN), which will support the creation of a network of more than 10,000 organisations that will help people to access services.
This will create more than 8,000 jobs, including more than 300 new jobs for social workers and support workers.
It will also provide $600 million for a new National Workplace Support Team, to assist people with work-related problems.
The CSN is also set to receive $2.2 billion over the next five years, which will create over 2,500 new jobs, and increase funding for people who are working on the job, including childcare, home care, employment and training, support for the elderly, and assistance with accessing disability support.
A further $300 million will be directed to ensure the CSN has enough capacity to meet demand for services, including the delivery of more community support services.
The Department of Social Services will also invest $500 million over the following five years to ensure its staff have the skills and training to meet the needs of the workforce and deliver services to people.
The changes to the social support system will also be part of a broader approach to ensure a stronger social safety net, with the Government committing to increase the number of people receiving social security benefits by two-thirds by 2020-22, to 4.3 million.
The Australian Social Security Foundation (ASSF), the national agency responsible for ensuring the welfare of Australians, has also committed to increasing its workforce by 30 per cent, with a target to reach the 50,000 workforce by 2026.
A total of 1.2 million people will be affected by the changes, as the government’s budget includes $500,000 in funding to assist those affected by these changes.
As part of its Social Support Plan, the Government will also ensure that the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which provides advice on payments to health care professionals, and the Disability Support Payment Review Commission, provide advice on changes to disability support payments and the eligibility for certain disability benefits.
This review is due to begin in June 2019.
The Budget will also set out a range the Government is taking action on in terms of tackling social and financial disadvantage, including through the introduction of a new disability tax, a new work capability assessment (WCA), and a new employment test.
This is part of an ongoing commitment to tackle inequality in Australia.