Abbott to spend $1.7m reviewing welfare payments

THE Abbott Government will spend more than $1.7 million on the review of several welfare payments, but will not be seeking input from the Australian public.

An answer to a Question on Notice from Queensland Labor Senator Claire Moore revealed the budget for the six-month long review was $1,730,864.

Most of that, the Department of Social Services written answer said, would be spent on salary costs.

The review, which is led by former Mission Australia head Patrick McClure, will assess welfare payments including Newstart, disability support pensions, parenting payments and youth allowance.

However, the two biggest hits to the budget in the welfare portfolio, the aged care pension and family tax benefits, will not be looked at.

The department's answer also confirmed the government "does not currently anticipate that there will be a discussion paper or public submissions" for the review.

While Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has described the review as an initiative to deal with "ballooning growth" in income support, the exclusion of the tow most costly payments has raised the ire of some.

Opposition spokeswoman on families, Jenny Macklin, said the lack of a public consultation on the process showed it was a "ludicrous farce".

She said without widespread public input, it was not a "serious review into the welfare system".

The early recommendations of the due are likely to be included in the May budget, while it will not officially report until June 30 this year.


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