Media Release: Delivering on improvements to Australia’s welfare system

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said changes to the welfare system that take place from 1 January 2020 would provide more support for Australians in need.

“These measures which will take effect in the new year demonstrate the Morrison Government’s commitment to ensuring Australia’s welfare system is effective, sustainable and targeted to those in the greatest need of support,” Minister Ruston said.

The Government is boosting support for the families of more than 2000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who need to live away from home to access secondary school by, on average, $5900 each year.

Families whose children go to boarding school and receive ABSTUDY will now continue to receive Family Tax Benefit until their children finish secondary schooling under changes to the eligibility criteria which previously stopped FTB being provided once a child turned 16.

More details on the changes are available at https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/04_2019/pbs-fact-sheet-support-for-australiansfwi89m4v.pdf

About 200 parents will benefit from a change to the work test for the Paid Parental Leave scheme.

Parents whose children are born or adopted from 1 January 2020 will be able to take a 12-week break between work days in the 13 months before the birth or adoption of their child. Previously parents could take a maximum eight week work break.

The change to the work test was announced as part of the 2018 Women’s Economic Security Statement https://ministers.pmc.gov.au/odwyer/2018/greater-choice-australian-women-womens-economic-security-statement-2018

Several payments including Carer Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Assistance for Isolated Children, Mobility Allowance, Double Orphan Pension and some rates of Disability Support Pension and ABSTUDY will also increase as part of the regular indexation process.

The increases in these payments are linked to the Consumer Price Index rise of 1.6 per cent for the 12 months ending in June 2019.

More detail on the new payment rates and thresholds are available at https://www.dss.gov.au/benefits-payments/indexation-rates-january-2020.

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