May 15, 2018

Turnbull has an opportunity to address the real reasons social welfare falls short

The government's upcoming review of the public service is a welcome opportunity to fix persistent problems with the delivery of social services, something ministers are unwilling to do themselves.

Paul Ronalds

CEO of Save the Children


The Australian Public Service has a proud history of strong policy development. We also have some world class social delivery systems -- Medicare is a good example. However, when it comes to complex social issues, like Indigenous disadvantage or juvenile justice, our record is marred. 

This is why the Turnbull Governments recent announcement of an independent review of the Australian Public Service with the aim of delivering better services is welcome.

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10 thoughts on “Turnbull has an opportunity to address the real reasons social welfare falls short

  1. DF

    I think the author has missed the point of the review. As it has been initiated by a conservative government ideologically committed to small government and outsourcing, the objective of the review is not improvement of service, it is to reduce the size of the public service. According to popular wisdom, governments should never hold enquiries (or reviews) unless they can control the outcome.
    The outcome has already been decided – it will be more effective and efficient provision of services. The only point for discussion is whether that would be achieved by more or less resources. As it is a neo-liberal ideologically driven government, it will be achieved by reducing resources.

  2. Bethany Challen

    Oh Paul you can’t possibly think Malcolm gives a toss about social welfare apart from screwing the life out of the people on it! Such unfounded optimism!

  3. Junter

    > consolidate contracts in distinct locations so we can hold one agency to account
    I think you have missed the point of outsourcing and decentralization

  4. [email protected]

    Imagine a benign Centrelink. A body designed to assist all Australians instead of harassing them. Imagine a one visit solution that sets in train whatever it is that you require, short term unemployment? Check! Enter this stream. Long term unemployment? Enter this stream! Short term illness? Over there. Long term illness or disability, here’s your counsellor, they will stay with you right through the process and act in your best interest all the time! Employed? Earn less than, say, $25,000? Assess for need, check hourly rate, report employers who are underpaying. Etc, etc, etc.

    1. AR

      Oh, still my beating, breaking heart at such a vision. Dear bygone days.

      1. Richard Leggatt

        Yeah, yeah, I know, but one can still dream! And plan!

  5. Srkiv

    Sadly the review is not about improving the service/outcome to clients/recipients. This country – not just LNP – gave up caring about our vulnerable members of community. Instead we find ways to blame them, make is impossible to claim income support, advocate for themselves or address monumental waste of taxpayers money, for example the Job service agents are paid extremely large sums of money to do nothing more than have people turn up to useless appts. No addressing of barriers to emp,oyment, genuine training schemes etc. Centrelink staff could return to doing this at a fraction of the billions paid to these get-rich-off-the-poor schemes.

  6. gjb

    Yep it sucks… The recent governments exist to support and expand “market” growth, people are a peripheral concern at best. Dave exists as a service opportunity to trade and tender for.

  7. JimmyNecktie

    The alleged social welfare we endure in this country merely reflects the mean, vindictive and spiteful nature of Australians in general. Nothing’s going to change for the better, Captain Milkshake and his banker coterie will see to that. In fact it could be fairly accurately predicted, that it will get a lot smaller and tighter. Even if Lieutenant Fizzo and his Bolinger Bolsheviks get in, they’ll follow the same theme. Whenever you hear “triple A rating” mentioned anywhere by the A-listers, you can bet you’ll find the IMF and the World Bank’s fingerprints all over it. So don’t hold your breath.

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