A key job services group has warned the government it cannot “save” its way to welfare reform, saying it must invest in the short term to help people with a disability secure work, which would ease the long-term pressure on the budget.
The message from Jobs Australia came as the social services minister, Kevin Andrews, played down the prospect of imminent changes to the disability support pension, saying such action was unlikely in the Abbott government’s first budget in May.
More than 820,000 people are on the disability support pension, or about one in 20 working-age Australians, costing the budget $15bn in 2012-13, according to Andrews. The minister has asked the former Mission Australia chief Patrick McClure to lead a welfare review that would seek “ways to improve opportunities for Australians with a disability to participate in work”.
Jobs Australia, which represents not-for-profit organisations that help unemployed people find work…
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