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Benefit numbers continue upward trend

January 23, 2020

Lindsay Mitchell, Welfare commentator and researcher

The number of people on benefits has shot up 5 percent in the last year.

According to welfare commentator Lindsay Mitchell latest benefit fact sheets, just released by MSD, show over 15,000 more people receiving a benefit than a year ago.

"Jobseeker numbers have risen by 10% while unemployment is still at a reasonably low level of just 4.2 percent."

In its last Annual Report MSD said, "The increase in demand for financial assistance this year has impacted on the time our case managers can spend with clients on proactive employment-focused case management: only 20 percent of engagements with clients in June 2019 had an employment focus, the lowest proportion since 2014."

"When I OIA'd the specifics of the decrease in employment-focused engagement I was told the percentage had fallen from 48% of 'clients in service' in June 2014 to just 20 percent by June 2019."

While it is important to ensure that people's immediate needs are met, grants are only short-term solutions. Jobs provide long-term answers but not enough time is being spent by case managers on that outcome.

ends

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