How Labor plans to tackle disadvantage

Jim Chalmers (Facebook/Jim ChalmersMP)

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers has indicated Australia’s welfare bill would not rise significantly under a Labor government, instead proposing to use national cabinet to work with state leaders to tackle disadvantage. Source: The Age.

In a speech to be delivered at the Australian Council of Social Service post-budget conference today, Dr Chalmers will criticise the Morrison Government’s Budget for failing to do enough to help struggling households despite a $74.6 billion spending splurge.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese last week promised a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund that would invest in tens of thousands of social and affordable homes.

However, Dr Chalmers is steering away from further plans to substantially ramp up spending on benefits for unemployed and impoverished Australians and will instead say there are more efficient ways to use the existing budget.

Dr Chalmers will acknowledge income support is a “really crucial part of the story” but will play down its significance in terms of tackling disadvantage.

Sources close to Labor who declined to be named as the party’s decisions about the JobSeeker payment have not yet been finalised, said any additional increase in the dole would likely be modest.

Instead, Dr Chalmers will promote dealing with concentrated disadvantage through collaboration between governments and local communities.

Using Treasury and national cabinet to drive a more localised approach across the country and better resource community initiatives are instead part of his plan, along with more support for the “impact investing” sector, where investors put funds into projects with positive outcomes for society.


Income support ‘not the only lever’: Labor’s plan to tackle disadvantage (By Jennifer Duke, The Age

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