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Australian Government Coat of Arms

Budget | 2015-16

Budget 2015-16
Australian Government Coat of Arms, Budget 2015-16

Part 2: Expense Measures (continued)

Social Services

ABSTUDY Under‑16 Boarding Supplement — extend to hostels

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 2.4 2.3 2.4 2.4
Department of Human Services .. 0.4
Total — Expense .. 2.8 2.3 2.4 2.4

The Government will provide $10.0 million over five years to extend the ABSTUDY Under‑16 Boarding Supplement to approved hostels from 1 July 2015. This measure will improve educational engagement and retention of secondary school students under 16 years from remote Indigenous communities.

Aged Care — alignment of aged care means testing arrangements

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 0.1 0.9 0.1 0.1 0.1
Department of Veterans' Affairs .. ‑0.6 ‑1.2 ‑1.6
Department of Social Services ‑0.7 ‑4.2 ‑8.1 ‑11.1
Total — Expense 0.1 0.2 ‑4.8 ‑9.2 ‑12.7
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.2

The Government will achieve savings of $26.2 million over five years by improving the fairness and equity of aged care means testing arrangements for new residents entering aged care from 1 January 2016.

This measure will align aged care means testing arrangements for residents who pay their accommodation costs by periodic payments with the arrangements that currently apply to those residents who pay via a lump sum. This will remove the rental income exemption under the aged care means test for aged care residents who are renting out their former home and paying their aged care accommodation costs by periodic payments. Existing protections such as annual fee caps and lifetime fee caps remain.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Aged Care — Home Care Programme — increasing consumer choice

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 13.6 16.2 10.6 8.9
Department of Human Services 0.9 1.3 1.0 0.2
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.7
Department of Finance 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total — Expense 15.3 17.6 11.7 9.2
Department of Social Services 8.1 11.8

The Government will provide $73.7 million over four years to increase consumer choice and flexibility for older Australians in receipt of a Commonwealth funded Home Care Package.

From 1 February 2017, Home Care Packages will be allocated directly to consumers by the My Aged Care Gateway rather than to service providers through the Aged Care Approvals Round.

To be eligible for a package, a consumer would be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team to determine the appropriate level of assistance and their care needs. The My Aged Care Gateway will be responsible for prioritising clients' access to packages at the regional level within the number of packages allocated through the planning ratio. This will enable aged care recipients to receive services from a provider of their choice, including the ability to change providers.

This measure includes $19.9 million over two years in capital funding to enhance the My Aged Care Gateway functionality to manage the allocation of Home Care Packages to consumers.

Aged Care — Increasing short term restorative care places

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 1.7 0.4 0.2 0.2
Department of Veterans' Affairs ‑0.1 ‑1.9 ‑4.8 ‑9.7
Department of Social Services ‑2.6 ‑6.5 ‑10.6 ‑22.4
Total — Expense ‑1.1 ‑8.0 ‑15.2 ‑31.9

The Government will achieve savings of $56.2 million over four years by incorporating short term restorative care places into the aged care planning ratio from 1 July 2016.

This measure will result in an overall increase in the number of short term restorative aged care places to support older Australians regain mobility and confidence to live safely at home after a period of hospitalisation and reduce the number of premature admissions into permanent residential care. The measure will ensure that the growth in short term restorative care places matches the growth in the aged population.

Aged Care — independent aged care complaints arrangements

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑0.4 ‑0.9 ‑0.9 ‑0.9
Department of Social Services 0.4

The Government will strengthen the independence of aged care complaints handling arrangements by transferring the responsibility for the administration of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme from the Secretary of the Department of Social Services to the Aged Care Commissioner from 1 January 2016.

The measure will achieve savings of $2.8 million over four years by simplifying the aged care complaints handling process.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Aged Care Workforce Development Fund — redesign

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑10.0 ‑10.0 ‑10.0 ‑10.2

The Government will redesign the Aged Care Workforce Fund (ACWF) to support more targeted training and skilling opportunities for the aged care workforce to better meet the increasing complexity of older people's care needs. From 1 January 2016, the ACWF will be renamed the Aged Care Workforce Development Fund and will continue to provide $220.9 million over four years.

This measure will achieve savings of $40.2 million over four years by better targeting aged care workforce development support.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Australian Aged Care Quality Agency Accreditation Services — cost recovery

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 0.2 ..
Australian Aged Care Quality Agency 0.1 ‑10.0 ‑11.3 ‑9.8
Total — Expense 0.3 ‑10.0 ‑11.3 ‑9.8

The Government will achieve a $30.7 million improvement to the Budget bottom line over four years by expanding the scope of cost recovery arrangements for residential aged care accreditation services. A new fee schedule will be introduced from 1 July 2016 to recover the full operating costs of accreditation, education and training activities performed by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.

Residential aged care providers with less than 25 places or that receive a viability supplement will continue to be eligible for a partial or full exemption of their accreditation fees.

Proceeds from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Australian Disability Enterprises — additional support

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 9.0 6.0 1.0 1.0

The Government will provide $189.5 million over four years to assist Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) work towards new wage arrangements for supported employees in response to the suspension of the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool following the decision of the Full Federal Court in December 2012. This assistance comprises:

  • $140.3 million for wage supplementation paid directly to ADEs;
  • $32.2 million to develop and implement a new productivity‑based wage assessment tool for use in ADEs; and
  • $17.0 million to improve the operation of ADEs through the development of a business diagnostic tool to gauge the health of their business, support their business model and develop their business skills.

Funding for wage supplementation and the development of a new wage tool has already been provided for by the Government.

Australian Working Life Residence — tightening proportionality requirements

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services
Department of Human Services
Total — Expense

The Government will achieve savings of $168.6 million over four years from 1 January 2017 by reducing from 26 weeks to six weeks the period that some recipients of the Age Pension, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension and the Disability Support Pension can be paid their full basic means‑tested rate while absent from Australia.

After six weeks absence from Australia, pensioners who have lived in Australia for less than 35 years will be paid at a reduced rate proportional to their period of Australian Working Life Residence (AWLR). The AWLR is the period a person has lived in Australia, as a permanent resident, between the age of 16 years and Age Pension age.

Pensioners overseas on the date of implementation will not be affected by this change unless they return to Australia and make a subsequent trip overseas. Pensioners with an AWLR of 35 years or more, or who are exempt from proportionality rules, such as recipients of the Disability Support Pension who are terminally ill or severely impaired and certain Widow B Pension and Wife Pension recipients, will not be affected.

Savings for this measure have already been provided for by the Government.

Carer support services — national gateway

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 10.9 7.6 7.6 7.7

The Government will provide $33.7 million over four years from 2015‑16 to create a national gateway for carers to access information, support and referral to carer specific supports and services.

The gateway will consist of a website, including a service finder similar to that available on the My Aged Care website, and a national call centre via a dedicated 1800 number to assist carers locate and access services for themselves and for the person/s in their care.

Establishing a national gateway will improve access to information and services for carers, which is currently fragmented and difficult to navigate with services and supports spanning multiple sectors including aged care, community mental health and disability.

Cessation of the Large Family Supplement of Family Tax Benefit Part A

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 1.3 1.5 0.1 ..
Department of Social Services 0.2 ‑60.1 ‑60.2 ‑59.9
Department of Health .. ‑0.1 ‑0.1
Total — Expense 1.5 ‑58.6 ‑60.2 ‑60.0

The Government will achieve savings of $177.3 million over four years from the cessation of the additional Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A Large Family Supplement from 1 July 2016.

Families will continue to receive a per child rate of FTB Part A for each eligible child in their family.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Community Development Financial Institutions — continued support

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 1.7 1.7 1.5

The Government will provide $4.9 million to continue support for Community Development Financial Institutions for an additional three years from 1 July 2015.

Community Development Financial Institutions provide a broad range of small loans, including personal loans and loans for developing small enterprises, to low income individuals and families who are not able to access affordable financial products and services, as well as financial literacy and capability services to help clients improve their money management skills and financial resilience.

Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑5.0 ‑5.0 ‑5.0 ‑5.1

The Government will redesign the Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants (ACSIHAG) Fund to support more appropriate care services for frail older Australians and people with dementia.

From 1 July 2015, the ACSIHAG Fund will be renamed the Dementia and Aged Care Services Fund and will continue to provide $365.8 million over four years for high quality and appropriate care services for older Australians who require sickness, hospital or medical services including people with dementia, people from diverse backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

See also the related expense measure titled Severe Behaviour Response Teams — establishment.

This measure will achieve savings of $20.1 million over four years by better targeting care services for older Australians.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Disability and Carers Programme Adjustment

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑0.5 ‑0.5 ‑1.2 ‑1.2

The Government will achieve savings of $3.4 million out of $445 million over four years through efficiencies achieved by streamlining programmes.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Disability Employment — a better way to work

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 2.9 ‑0.6 ‑0.3 ‑2.7
Department of Employment 0.1

The Government will provide $25.2 million over four years to improve access to employment services and enhance support for job seekers with disabilities.

The Government will provide funds for a new JobAccess Gateway, to provide a central entry point for disability employment information and services, that will be available to people with disability, employers, carers and advocates. Disability Employment Services will be extended to people with disabilities in post‑school employment programmes and to eligible Australian Disability Enterprise workers. School leavers and Australian Disability Enterprise workers will have concurrent access to Disability Employment Services while they continue to receive their existing support to enable a better transition into employment in the open labour market.

This measure will be funded from savings achieved by tightening arrangements for outcome based fees paid to employment service providers to better align the employment outcomes achieved with the job seeker's actual work capacity, and will result in a net save to the Budget of $0.6 million over four years.

Exclude Widow Allowance from the One‑Week Ordinary Waiting Period for all Working Age Payments

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1
Department of Human Services 0.1 .. .. ..
Total — Expense 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.1

The Government will exclude new claimants of Widow Allowance from the One‑Week Ordinary Waiting Period at a cost of $0.9 million over four years. This measure amends the 2014‑15 Budget measure Apply the One‑Week Ordinary Waiting Period to all Working Age Payments.

This measure will commence on 1 July 2015.

All claimants of Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance (Other) will be required to wait one week before receiving payment, unless the claimant is exempt or the waiting period is waived. Current rules will be tightened for waivers for financial hardship.

Families package — child care — National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of the Treasury 2.6 1.3
Department of Social Services - - - -
Total — Expense 2.6 1.3

The Government will provide $61.1 million over three years from 2015‑16 to extend the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care.

Funding for this measure includes $57.2 million, which has already been provisioned for by the Government and an additional $3.8 million. The National Partnership Agreement will support the delivery of an integrated and unified national regulatory system for child care services.

Families Package — child care — Workforce Participation Stream

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 132.7 240.7 1,260.9 1,422.0
Department of Human Services 0.8 7.0 36.0 48.1 50.3
Department of Finance 0.1
Total — Expense 0.8 139.8 276.7 1,309.0 1,472.2
Department of Social Services 0.8 0.1 0.1
Department of Human Services
Department of Finance
Total — Capital 0.8 0.1 0.1

The Government will provide an additional $3.2 billion over five years from 2014‑15 to support families with flexible, accessible and affordable child care so they can move into work, stay in work, train, study or undertake other recognised activities.

A new single Child Care Subsidy (CCS) will be introduced on 1 July 2017. Families meeting the activity test with annual incomes up to $60,000 (2013‑14 dollars) will be eligible for a subsidy of 85 per cent of the actual fee paid, up to an hourly fee cap. The subsidy will taper to 50 per cent for eligible families with annual incomes of $165,000. The CCS will have no annual cap for families with annual incomes below $180,000. For families with annual incomes of $180,000 and above, the CCS will be capped at $10,000 per child per year. The income threshold for the maximum subsidy will be indexed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) with other income thresholds aligned accordingly. Eligibility will be linked to a new activity test to better align receipt of the subsidy with hours of work, study or other recognised activities.

The hourly fee cap in 2017‑18 will be set at $11.55 for long day care, $10.70 for family day care, and $10.10 for outside school hours care. The hourly fee caps will be indexed by CPI.

Additional support will be provided to eligible families through the Child Care Safety Net (see related expense measure Families Package — child care safety net).

A new Interim Home Based Carer Subsidy Programme will subsidise care provided by a nanny in a child's home from 1 January 2016. The pilot programme will extend fee assistance to the parents of approximately 10,000 children. Families selected to participate will be those who are having difficulty accessing child care with sufficient flexibility. Support for families will be based on the CCS parameters, but with a fee cap of $7.00 per hour per child.

The CCS will replace the current child care fee assistance provided by the Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance payments which will cease on 30 June 2017.

Further information on the Interim Home Based Carer Subsidy Programme can be found in the press release of 28 April 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

Note: In 2017‑18, the family income thresholds will be $65,710 (maximum subsidy), $170,710 (minimum subsidy) and $185,710 (application of the annual cap of $10,000). The annual cap will be indexed by CPI from 1 July 2018.

Families Package — Child Care Safety Net

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 5.7 78.7 135.5 105.3
Department of Social Services 2.5

The Government will provide additional funding of $327.7 million over four years from 2015‑16 to provide targeted support to disadvantaged or vulnerable families to address barriers to accessing child care. The assistance will be provided through the Child Care Safety Net, which consists of three programmes — the Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS), a new Inclusion Support Programme (ISP) and the Community Child Care Fund (CCCF).

The ACCS will provide additional assistance to supplement the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) for eligible disadvantaged or vulnerable families (see related expense measure Families Package — child care — workforce participation stream).

The new ISP will assist families with children with additional needs to access child care. The ISP will provide more funding for services to get the necessary skilled staff and equipment to support children with special needs.

The CCCF will provide grants to child care services to improve access to child care in disadvantaged communities, increase the supply of child care places in areas of high demand and low availability, and improve affordability for low income families in areas where the average fees are greater than the CCS fee cap.

These measures will complement provision in the CCS to provide 24 hours per fortnight subsidised access for families on incomes below the income threshold for the maximum subsidy ($60,000 per annum in 2013‑14 dollars) who do not meet the activity test.

The Child Care Safety Net and provision for base funding within the CCS will replace the existing Inclusion and Professional Support Programme which will cease on 30 June 2016, and the Community Support Programme and Budget Based Funded Programme which will cease on 30 June 2017. The Government has also redirected funding for existing initiatives under the Support for the Child Care System Programme to this measure.

Further information on the Child Care Safety Net can be found in the press release of 8 May 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

Families Package — more generous means testing arrangements for youth payments

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 11.7 67.5 75.9 79.8
Department of Human Services 0.1 9.7 7.2 5.4 5.5
Total — Expense 0.1 21.4 74.6 81.3 85.3

The Government will provide $262.7 million over five years to amend parental income testing arrangements to provide more support for families with dependent young people who qualify for certain income support payments, including Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living allowance (ABSTUDY), and the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme.

From 1 January 2016, families with dependent children receiving income support payments would be subject to the Parental Income Test arrangements currently in place for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A and will no longer be subject to the Family Assets Test or Family Actual Means Test. The removal of these two tests will result in a more consistent level of support for families, as young people move from FTB Part A to an individual income support payment.

In addition, from 1 July 2016, where a family has a dependent child who receives an individual income support payment and younger siblings who qualify the family to receive FTB Part A, a single Parental Income Test will be applied taking into account all income support benefits the family receive. This will result in a lower rate of reduction to the dependent child's individual payment than is currently the case where separate Parental Income Tests are applied to each payment.

From 1 January 2017, a Maintenance Income Test will be introduced for dependent children receiving individual income support payments. This test will apply to that child only and not include other child support amounts provided in relation to other children in the family. The same Maintenance Income Test already applies to FTB Part A.

This will be of particular benefit to rural and regional families whose children continue to study beyond year 12.

Family Tax Benefit Part A — reduced portability

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services
Department of Human Services
Total — Expense

The Government will achieve savings of $42.1 million over five years by reducing the amount of time Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A will be paid to recipients who are outside Australia.

From 1 January 2016, families will only be able to receive FTB Part A for six weeks in a 12 month period while they are overseas. Currently, FTB Part A recipients who are overseas are able to receive their usual rate of payment for six weeks and then the base rate for a further 50 weeks.

Portability extension and exception provisions which allow longer portability under special circumstances will continue to apply.

Savings for this measure have already been provided for by the Government.

Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience Services in Income Management Locations — continuation

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 12.4 13.1

The Government will provide $25.6 million over two years to continue Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Capability support services in existing income management locations until 30 June 2017. Under this measure up to 32 service delivery hubs will provide professional counselling services, financial literacy education, an Indigenous mentoring programme, and an expanded Indigenous Home Ownership Education service.

Income management helps people manage their welfare payments better by quarantining a proportion of funds to provide for food, housing, electricity and education costs. When combined with other support services, such as financial counselling and education, income management seeks to encourage more socially responsible behaviour and protect vulnerable Australians.

See also the related expense measure titled Income Management — two year extension.

Growing Jobs and Small Business — increasing the age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance — delay

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 148.6 53.7 11.6 1.8
Department of Human Services ‑1.1 ‑29.7 ‑12.3 ‑1.0 ‑0.5
Total — Expense ‑1.1 118.9 41.4 10.5 1.3

The Government will delay implementation of the 2014‑15 Budget measure Increasing the age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance until 1 July 2016 at a cost of $171.0 million over five years.

The age of eligibility for Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance will increase from 22 to 25 years of age, from 1 July 2016. Current recipients of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance, aged 22 to 24 years of age on 30 June 2016, will remain on those allowances.

This measure will strengthen the incentive for young unemployed people to participate in education, training and employment.

The Government's Growing Jobs and Small Business package will help small business invest more, grow, and employ more Australians.

Growing Jobs and Small Business — Youth Employment Strategy — intensive support for vulnerable job seekers

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Employment 15.5 27.6 27.9 12.5
Department of Social Services 13.6 15.1 3.1 0.1
Department of Human Services 3.2 ‑5.6 ‑5.7 ‑6.0
Total — Expense 32.3 37.1 25.3 6.6
Department of Employment 4.4

The Government will provide $105.7 million over five years from 2015‑16 to improve employment, educational and social outcomes for parents and young people who are unemployed, have a mental health condition, are refugees or are vulnerable migrants. This funding includes:

  • $55.2 million over five years for community and non‑government organisations to implement up to 40 trials to identify and engage early with disadvantaged youth who have multiple barriers to employment and support them to engage with the labour market;
  • $19.4 million over four years for two employment support trials to help improve employment outcomes for young people up to the age of 25 with mental illness, who are at risk of disengaging from education and/or at risk of long term welfare dependency;
  • $22.1 million over four years to support young refugees and other vulnerable young migrants to build skills and confidence to equip them to participate in education or work; and
  • $8.9 million over four years for early intervention assistance in ten locations with high numbers of disadvantaged parents, to ensure that parents with barriers to employment are job ready. A two year trial commencing 1 April 2016 will extend eligibility to parents not on income support, with participation on a voluntary basis.

The Government's Growing Jobs and Small Business package will help small business invest more, grow, and employ more Australians.

Growing Jobs and Small Business — Youth Employment Strategy — revised waiting period for youth income support

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 522.4 499.7 505.3 560.3
Department of Employment ..
Administrative Appeals Tribunal ‑0.8 ‑0.3 ‑0.2 ‑0.5
Department of Human Services ‑4.0 ‑60.2 ‑61.0 ‑58.1 ‑58.8
Total — Expense ‑4.0 461.5 438.5 447.0 501.0
Department of Employment 0.8

The Government will reverse the 2014‑15 Budget measure Stronger Participation Incentives for Job Seekers under 30 and instead require young people under 25 years of age without significant barriers to employment to actively seek work for a four week waiting period before receiving income support payments. These changes are estimated to cost $1,844.7 million over five years.

From 1 July 2016, all new claimants of Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance (Other) and Special Benefit under 25 years of age and who are eligible for a Stream A in jobactive, will be subject to a new rapid activation strategy, RapidConnect Plus, that will require the claimant to undertake a number of additional job search activities within the first four weeks before they receive income support.

Participants in Disability Employment Services and jobactive participants who are assessed as requiring greater assistance to obtain employment (that is, are classified as Stream B or C), job seekers who are principal carer parents, or who have a temporary activity test exemption, and young people leaving state care will be exempt.

The Government remains committed to helping young job seekers into work. The funding provided in the 2014‑15 Budget to the Department of Employment to assist job seekers under 30 years with a full work capacity in jobactive will remain.

See also the related measure titled Growing Jobs and Small Business — Youth Employment Strategy — intensive support for vulnerable job seekers.

The Government's Growing Jobs and Small Business package will help small business invest more, grow, and employ more Australians.

Income Management — two year extension

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 0.9 57.0 76.3
Department of Social Services 6.7 5.8
Total — Expense 0.9 63.7 82.1

The Government will provide $146.7 million over three years to extend existing income management arrangements in all current locations for two years until 30 June 2017.

This will continue income management in the Perth Metropolitan, Peel and Kimberley regions, Laverton, Kiwirrkurra and Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia; Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, Ceduna and Playford in South Australia; Cape York, Rockhampton, Livingstone and Logan in Queensland; Bankstown in New South Wales; Greater Shepparton in Victoria; and in the Northern Territory.

Administrative and service delivery arrangements will be streamlined by phasing out Voluntary Incentive and Matched Savings Payments and reducing the number of interactions between the Department of Human Services and income management participants.

See also the related expense measure titled Financial Counselling, Capability and Resilience Services in Income Management Locations — continuation.

Intercountry Adoption — national support service

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 3.2 6.5 6.3 6.9 7.0
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 0.6 1.6
Department of Immigration and Border Protection 0.2 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7
Department of Finance 0.1
Attorney‑General's Department ‑0.3 ‑0.5 ‑0.5
Total — Expense 4.0 8.8 6.7 7.0 7.1
Department of Immigration and Border Protection .. .. .. .. ..
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 0.1 0.1

The Government will provide $33.7 million over five years from 2014‑15 to establish and deliver a national support service for families adopting or seeking to adopt children through the intercountry adoption process.

The Intercountry Adoption support service will be a navigation hub to guide people through the intercountry adoption process and connect them with appropriate support services. The service will include a website and 1800 information line.

The service will provide information throughout the intercountry adoption process and streamline visa, citizenship and passport processes for intercountry adoption clients.

The Government will also pursue intercountry adoption programmes with new countries and strengthen relationships with existing partner countries. States and territories will continue to be responsible for managing adoption applications and assessing eligibility for intercountry adoptions.

Investment Approaches to Welfare

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 14.0 11.1 3.9 4.0
Department of Social Services 0.7

The Government will provide $20.7 million over four years to develop a detailed annual actuarial valuation of the lifetime liability of Australia's welfare system from 2015, including identifying groups of people most at risk of welfare dependency and the factors that lead to long term dependency.

The Government will also provide $13.0 million over two years to maintain four longitudinal surveys and undertake a review of the future longitudinal data necessary to support actuarial assessments. The surveys include the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia data collection, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children and the Longitudinal Study of Humanitarian Migrants.

Low Income Supplement — cessation

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services
Department of Human Services
Total — Expense

The Government will achieve savings of $42.9 million over four years by ceasing the Low Income Supplement from 1 July 2017. Recipients of most Government payments will continue to receive carbon tax compensation through the Energy Supplement, which provides up to $14.10 per fortnight depending on individual circumstances.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Savings for this measure have already been provided for by the Government.

Microfinance Projects — continuation

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 12.4 12.7 12.4 12.7

The Government will provide $63.4 million over five years (including $13.0 million in 2019‑20) to support the continuation of microfinance services that assist low income and vulnerable Australians to access mainstream financial services and build financial resilience.

The services and products supported under this measure include the no and low interest loans delivered through StepUP and the No Interest Loan Scheme, which provide small loans to people on low incomes, and Saver Plus which provides financial education workshops and matched savings payments that provide a dollar‑for‑dollar incentive of up to $500 to participants who reach their savings goals. To date, microfinance projects have leveraged approximately $60.0 million from corporate partners to meet costs associated with loan capital and matched savings payments.

This measure will also provide support for the development and promotion of Financial Inclusion Action Plans, which commit organisations to taking tangible action to address financial exclusion.

National Awareness Campaign to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 10.5 5.6 0.6

The Government will provide $16.7 million over three years from 2015‑16 as the Commonwealth's contribution to a national awareness campaign focused on reducing violence against women and their children. The campaign will aim to drive nation‑wide change in the culture, attitudes and behaviours that underpin violence against women and their children.

The Council of Australian Governments agreed at its meeting on 17 April 2015, to jointly fund a $30.0 million national awareness campaign. The Commonwealth will contribute $15.0 million toward campaign funding, as well as providing $1.7 million for the development and administration of the campaign.

Further information can be found in the press release of 4 March 2015 issued by the Prime Minister, and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

National Disability Insurance Agency Full Scheme ICT

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 28.2 9.9 1.9
Department of Social Services 19.4 13.2 3.0 3.0
Department of Industry and Science 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Department of Finance 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
National Disability Insurance Agency ‑2.3 0.1 9.1 4.1
Total — Expense 45.7 23.7 14.5 7.6
Department of Human Services 5.6
National Disability Insurance Agency ‑11.2 ‑10.9
Total — Capital ‑5.7 ‑10.9

The Government will provide $143.0 million over four years for an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to support the full implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The NDIA is currently supported by an interim ICT system managed by the Department of Social Services, which was designed to support around 30,000 participants during the NDIS trials only. The full Scheme ICT system will be developed and managed by the Department of Human Services to enable the NDIA to support over 460,000 participants and their providers once full Scheme is reached in 2019‑20, and to provide the NDIA with the actuarial and case management capabilities expected of a fully developed insurance scheme.

The NDIA will redirect $50.3 million of resourcing provided for the interim ICT system in the 2012‑13 Budget measure National Disability Insurance Scheme — First Stage to partially fund the development and implementation of a full Scheme ICT solution.

National Disability Insurance Scheme — early access for children in the Nepean Blue Mountains area of Western Sydney

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
National Disability Insurance Agency 0.6 15.9 ‑7.7 ‑8.8
Department of Social Services ‑0.3 ‑0.1 ..
Total — Expense 0.6 15.7 ‑7.8 ‑8.8
National Disability Insurance Agency 4.4 ‑4.6
Department of Social Services
Total — Capital 4.4 ‑4.6

The Government will facilitate early access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for approximately 2,000 children (under 18 years of age) in the Nepean Blue Mountains area of Western Sydney from 1 September 2015.

The early access will be jointly funded with the New South Wales Government consistent with current NDIS trial bilateral agreements.

Further information can be found in the press release of 22 March 2015 issued by the Assistant Minister for Social Services.

National Disability Insurance Scheme — Sector Development Fund transfer

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 57.5 26.8 30.0
Department of the Treasury 2.6
Department of Human Services 0.6 0.7
National Disability Insurance Agency ‑27.8 ‑30.0 ‑30.0
Total — Expense 30.3 ..

The Government will transfer funding and responsibility for the Sector Development Fund (SDF) from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to the Department of Social Services. The SDF was established in 2012‑13 for the purpose of supporting the development of the disability support sector in preparation for the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

This will allow the NDIA to focus on its key responsibility of implementing the roll‑out of care packages for people with disability who are eligible for the NDIS.

The Government will also re‑purpose $1.3 million over two years from 2014‑15 to the Department of Human Services to support the delivery of NDIS trials and $2.6 million in 2015‑16 to support the delivery of the MyWay trial in Western Australia.

National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness — extension

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of the Treasury 115.0 115.0
Department of Social Services
Total — Expense 115.0 115.0

The Government will provide $230.0 million over two years to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness to 30 June 2017. This will provide funding certainty for homelessness services and enable them to continue to support Australia's vulnerable homeless population.

The Government recognises that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness and will ensure that funding priority is given to those service providers who are assisting women and children who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and affected by domestic violence.

Further information can be found in the press release of 23 March 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

New Income Management Arrangements — trial and industry consultation

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 2.7

The Government will provide funding of $2.7 million in 2015‑16 to facilitate consultation and engagement with communities and industry on future income management arrangements. The consultations will enable government to identify best practice technology and service delivery arrangements for a commercially delivered debit card arrangement.

The Government will also provide funding over three years from 2014‑15 to undertake a trial of new debit card arrangements in up to three communities, based on the recommendations made in the report Creating Parity — the Forrest Review, with locations to be determined in consultation with key stakeholders.

The trial will evaluate the effectiveness of restricted debit card arrangements which will limit access to discretionary cash for certain welfare recipients. The trial is expected to reduce harm resulting from alcohol, drugs and gambling, while also testing a role for community leaders in influencing social norms.

The funding associated with the trial is not for publication (nfp) as negotiations with potential commercial providers are yet to be finalised.

New Way of Working for Grants — transitional arrangements

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 26.0 14.7 14.9

The Government will provide $55.6 million over three years from 2014‑15 to ensure continuity of front line community services as funding arrangements transition to the New Way of Working for Grants framework. The New Way of Working for Grants will reduce red tape, improve service delivery and provide greater flexibility to service delivery organisations.

As part of this process, a number of grant activities have been discontinued, with savings of $30.0 million already accounted for by Government.

Further information can be found in the press release of 30 January 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

No Jab No Pay

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 0.3 18.7 7.8 3.0 2.9
Department of Finance 0.1
Department of Social Services ‑90.8 ‑156.3 ‑149.9 ‑144.1
Total — Expense 0.3 ‑72.1 ‑148.5 ‑146.9 ‑141.2

The Government will ensure that children fully meet immunisation requirements before their families can access certain Government payments, which will result in a saving of $508.3 million over five years.

From 1 January 2016, families will no longer be eligible for subsidised child care or the Family Tax Benefit Part A end‑of‑year supplement unless their child is up‑to‑date with all childhood immunisations.

Exemptions will only apply for medical reasons.

See also the related measure Improving Immunisation Coverage Rates in the Health Portfolio.

Further information can be found in the press release of 12 April 2015 issued by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Social Services, and of 19 April 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

Not proceeding with elements of the measure to maintain eligibility thresholds for Australian Government payments for three years

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Veterans' Affairs 2.8 5.4
Department of Social Services ‑0.2 40.6 83.8
Department of Human Services ‑0.3 ‑4.0 ‑0.1
Total — Expense ‑0.5 39.4 89.0

The Government will not proceed with elements of the 2014‑15 Budget measure Maintain eligibility thresholds for Australian Government payments for three years that relate to the pension income test free areas and deeming thresholds at a cost of $128.0 million over three years from 2016‑17.

The pension income test free areas and deeming thresholds will continue to be indexed annually by the Consumer Price Index. Major pension related payments include the Age Pension, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, and the Veterans' Service Pension.

See the measure Social Security Assets Test — rebalance asset test thresholds and taper rate for changes to the assets test thresholds.

Not proceeding with the measure to Reset the Income Test Deeming Rate Thresholds

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Veterans' Affairs 2.2 2.1
Department of Social Services ‑0.1 44.2 60.0
Department of Human Services ‑1.6 ‑13.7 ‑3.9
Total — Expense ‑1.8 32.6 58.2

The Government will not proceed with the 2014‑15 Budget measure Reset the Income Test Deeming Rate Thresholds at a cost of $89.1 million over three years from 2016‑17.

Removing Double‑Dipping from Parental Leave Pay

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 8.9 5.4 2.5 2.4
Department of Social Services 0.9 ‑473.5 ‑595.5 ‑619.8
Administrative Appeals Tribunal 0.5 0.2 0.2
Total — Expense 9.8 ‑467.6 ‑592.8 ‑617.1
Australian Taxation Office ‑200.0 ‑250.0 ‑250.0

The Government will achieve savings of $967.7 million over four years by removing the ability for individuals to double dip when applying for the existing Parental Leave Pay (PLP) scheme, from 1 July 2016.

Currently individuals are able to access Government assistance in the form of PLP, in addition to any employer‑provided parental leave entitlements.

The Government will remove the ability for individuals to double dip, by taking payments from both their employer and the Government.

The Government will ensure that all primary carers would have access to parental leave payments that are at least equal to the maximum PLP benefit (currently 18 weeks at the national minimum wage).

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Severe Behaviour Response Teams — establishment

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services 12.7 13.2 13.9 14.7

The Government will provide $54.5 million over four years to establish Severe Behaviour Response Teams to provide timely and expert advice to residential aged care providers to address the care needs of people with the most severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Further information can be found in the press release of 4 February 2015 issued by the Assistant Minister for Social Services.

Social Security Agreement with Estonia

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 1.9 1.4 0.4 0.4
Department of Social Services 0.2 .. ‑0.1 ‑0.1
Total — Expense 2.2 1.4 0.3 0.2

The Government will provide $4.2 million over four years to implement a new Social Security Agreement with the Republic of Estonia consistent with similar agreements made with 29 other countries.

The agreement will commence from 1 July 2016, subject to the completion of legal and treaty processes for both countries, and will improve access to the Age Pension for people who have spent part of their working life in both Australia and Estonia.

Social Security Assets Test — rebalance asset test thresholds and taper rate

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 0.3 0.1 10.8 ‑2.1 ‑2.1
Administrative Appeals Tribunal 3.4
Department of Health ..
Department of Veterans' Affairs ‑10.1 ‑20.0 ‑17.7
Department of Social Services ‑0.2 ‑449.0 ‑952.8 ‑1,003.9
Total — Expense 0.3 ‑0.1 ‑444.9 ‑974.9 ‑1,023.6
Department of Veterans' Affairs 0.2

The Government will achieve savings of $2.4 billion over five years by increasing the asset test thresholds and the withdrawal rate at which pensions are reduced once the threshold is exceeded.

This measure will improve the targeting of Australian Government payments to those most in need by providing additional assistance for those with moderate asset holdings, while reducing assistance to those with more significant asset holdings.

Pensioners who lose pension entitlement on 1 January 2017 as a result of these changes will automatically be issued with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or a Health Care Card for those under Age Pension age.

In addition, the Government will not proceed with the 2014‑15 Budget measure Index Pension and Pension Equivalent Payments by the Consumer Price Index. Pension and pension equivalent payment rates will continue to be indexed under current arrangements — by the higher of the increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI) and benchmarked against Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Further information can be found in the press release of 7 May 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

Social Security Income Test — improve integrity of social security income test arrangements

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Human Services 0.1 3.1 0.6 0.2 0.1
Administrative Appeals Tribunal 0.2 0.2
Department of Social Services ‑60.1 ‑129.8 ‑136.3 ‑143.6
Total — Expense 0.1 ‑56.9 ‑129.1 ‑136.1 ‑143.5

The Government will improve fairness and equity in social security payments and achieve savings of $465.5 million over five years by ensuring that a larger proportion of a superannuant's actual defined benefit income is taken into account when applying the relevant social security income test.

Under this measure the proportion of income that can be excluded from any income test (the deductible amount) will be capped at ten per cent from 1 January 2016.

A defined benefit income stream is a pension paid from a public sector or other corporate defined benefit superannuation fund where the pension paid generally reflects years of service and the final salary of the beneficiary.

Under current arrangements, some defined benefit superannuants are able to have a large proportion of their superannuation income excluded from the pension income test. This measure ensures greater fairness and equity in the treatment of self‑funded retirees and pensioners by introducing a cap on the superannuation income stream amount that can be excluded from relevant social security income tests.

Recipients of Veterans' Affairs pensions and/or defined benefit income streams paid by military superannuation funds are exempt from this measure.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Stronger Relationships Trial — cessation

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑17.1 ‑0.1

The Government will achieve savings of $17.2 million over two years by ceasing the Stronger Relationships Trial from 9 February 2015. The Australian Government will honour the $200 subsidy until 30 June 2015 for couples who registered prior to 9 February 2015.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.

Further information can be found in the press release of 1 February 2015 issued by the Minister for Social Services.

Wound Management Scoping Study — redirection of funding

Expense ($m)
2014‑15 2015‑16 2016‑17 2017‑18 2018‑19
Department of Social Services ‑0.3

The Government will achieve savings of $0.3 million in 2014‑15 by not proceeding with the Support Senior Australians — Wound Management Scoping Study measure, announced in the 2013‑14 Budget.

The savings from this measure will be redirected by the Government to repair the Budget and fund policy priorities.