Welfare to Work

Apr 2019


The best form of welfare is a job. With a stronger economy, more than 1.3 million more Australians are in jobs since September 2013.

230,000 fewer Australians are on income support than four years ago.

The rate of welfare dependency is now the lowest it has been in 30 years (14.3% of working age Australians are on welfare – down from 16.5% under Labor).

A strong safety net is part of Australia’s national ethos. But the right to welfare comes with responsibilities.

We are delivering greater support — and expectations — for job seekers.


Labor let Work for the Dole wither. We’ve reinvigorated it.

This year, around 69,000 Australians will participate in Work for the Dole (up from just 17,000 in 2009-10).

Nearly 75% of those who participate in Work for the Dole reported that it increased their desire to find a job. Around 26% of participants found a job within three months.


For those with a drug and alcohol problem, we’re changing the rules.

Under our plan, those on welfare affected by drugs and alcohol will now be required to undertake available treatment.

If it is refused, we will no longer accept drug and alcohol use as a legitimate excuse for missing a job interview or training.

We are also seeking to trial random drug tests for 5,000 new recipients of Newstart and Youth Allowance in three locations – Canterbury Bankstown (NSW), Logan (QLD) and Mandurah (WA). Unfortunately, legislation is being blocked by Labor in the Senate.


The Cashless Welfare Card helps ensure vulnerable people get the basic essentials of life, such as food, housing, electricity and education.

So far, the card has been trialled in four locations – Ceduna (SA), the East Kimberley region of WA, the Goldfields region of WA and the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay region in Queelsland.

In these trials, we have seen 48% of drug takers using fewer drugs, 41% of drinkers drinking less, and 48% of gamblers gambling less.


We have increased checks through data matching to over 600,000 every year. This is half a million more than when Labor was in government (2012-13).

Taxpayers saved $1.4 billion during 18 months (to December 2017), from a Government crackdown on welfare fraud and non-compliance.

In one extreme case, someone used an alias to claim disability support, fleecing taxpayers more than $160,000. They were found guilty of fraud and sentenced to three years jail.


The majority of job-seekers do the right thing by actively looking for work.

For the minority that don’t, we’re introducing a clearer and fairer system of compliance.

We are introducing stronger compliance measures, like better relationship verification steps to ensure people only receive payments they should.


A new program called ParentsNext is helping disadvantaged parents break the cycle of dependency.


From March 2020, the Government will introduce a new, single JobSeeker Payment, which will replace or consolidate seven existing payments.

A simpler system means less money is spent on red tape.