Mid-Year Budget Review

CEO Social Justice Blog

The announcement this week of measures to be introduced to improve revenue for our Federal Government was a disappointment.

Cuts to child care, aged care, employment projects, and possible introduction of charges for pathology tests will have a much greater impact on families on lower incomes.  There were no initiatives targeting people on higher incomes such as the much discussed tax evasion of multi-nationals and the overly generous superannuation concessions for people on higher incomes.

The review also promised greater scrutiny of welfare payments from Centrelink which is unlikely to save the Government much.  After several attempts to tighten welfare compliance in recent years, only 0.02% of welfare recipients are prosecuted.

Hopefully data matching might help Centrelink customers to avoid making mistakes as the claims process is complex.

The government may well find more people are under-claiming than over-claiming.

It has been estimated that under-claiming of welfare benefits is saving the Federal Government approximately $1billion per year.

Reasons for under-claiming appear to be;

  • claims process too complex – people make mistakes
  • claims process too complex – people don’t bother to apply particularly for part payment
  • lack of awareness of eligibility to receive assistance
  • stigma of being a Centrelink customer

The Federal Government makes no attempt to communicate with people who are under-claiming which again is disappointing.