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Social Development Focus Supported

1 May 2001


Department of Work and Income (DWI) staff have expressed support for a new social development-focused approach to welfare, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey rubbished claims by Act MP Muriel Newman that DWI staff were opposed to the creation of a new Ministry of Social Development from the current Department and the Ministry of Social Policy. Following the announcement of the Government's in principle decision to establish the new ministry senior DWI staff had raised some concerns about several issues, but also indicated their support for the social development focus the Government was taking.

"It is quite wrong to suggest that DWI staff are opposed to the development of the new ministry. Following the Government's announcement senior DWI staff did express the sorts of concerns I would have expected to hear from a group who had only recently heard that their existing organisation was to be the subject to a degree of organisational change.

"Now that the Government has made the in principle decision to establish a new Ministry of Social Development staff from the Ministry of Social Policy, the State Services Commission and DWI are working together on the implementation details.

"The Government is clear about the benefits of adopting a new social development approach to our welfare system.

"We must make work pay by ensuring beneficiaries are always better off by moving into real paying jobs. Our welfare system needs to move from a passive income transfer model to an active investing in people approach.

"Mrs Newman and the Act party remain rooted in the failed policies of the past which lock beneficiaries into make-work jobs and a permanent life on the dole," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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