JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Hon Kevin Andrews MP
Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services
Senator Mitch Fifield
Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector
2 February 2011
TALK BUT NO ACTION ON DSP REFORM
Kevin Andrews and Senator Mitch Fifield today noted the comments of Julia Gillard regarding the Disability Support Pension in yesterday’s speech to the Committee of Economic Development.
“Julia Gillard has indicated that she would like to see more DSP recipients in work. Yet there can be no confidence in her Government’s ability to deliver the reform required to make that happen,” Kevin Andrews said.
“It’s not the first time we’ve heard someone from the Labor Government wax lyrical about the need to help people with disability find suitable employment,” Senator Fifield said.
Over one year ago, Minister Macklin said that:
“Unfortunately the disability support pension has become a destination payment… so clearly the policy challenge we face is to determine why existing policies are failing Australians with disability.”
(Jenny Macklin, Speech to Per Capita Policy Exchange, 21/10/09)
Since then nothing has changed.
Under the previous government, growth in DSP recipients was modest with a growth rate of only 2.5% between June 2004 and June 2007.
But over the past three years, from June 2007 to June 2010, the number of DSP recipients has grown by almost 11%, a growth rate more than four times faster than under the Coalition.
Reining in the growth in DSP recipients requires a core belief that moving people from welfare to work is an important priority for government.
The government should do whatever it can to ensure that people who can and want to work, are able to transition into the workforce.
It’s high time Julia Gillard and Jenny Macklin stepped up and started tackling some of the important challenges facing our nation, but the Coalition won’t be holding its breath.