New welfare legislation good for families
Welfare legislation passed this evening by Parliament evening will significantly increase the support available for
sole-parent and widows beneficiaries to raise their families and move into work when family responsibilities allow, says
Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.
The key provisions of the Social Security (Personal Development and Employment) Amendment Bill come into force on 10
March 2003. A new active case management system will be introduced and sole-parent beneficiaries will be required to
draw up annual plans detailing the steps they will take to prepare them to re-enter the workforce when family
Steve Maharey said the new act recognises three vitally important factors which National entirely ignored in the ‘work
first’ reforms it introduced during the 1990s.
“Firstly, that the vast majority of people currently receiving Widows or Domestic Purposes Benefits are highly motivated
to improve their own and their children’s circumstances. They don’t need to be shoe-horned into any job no matter how
unsuitable it might be in light of their family responsibilities.
“Secondly, the Labour-led government recognises that raising healthy successful children is vital nation building work.
The new rules assist beneficiaries to move into paid work but being a good parent must come first.
“Finally, the new rules will provide the support beneficiaries need to move into work to stay there. The government
invested $55 million in the Budget to enable Work and Income case managers to spend time with beneficiaries one-on-one
goal setting and planning for the time when they are ready and able to work.
“We have also improved access to childcare and we are improving the benefit abatement system to make moving into
employment more worthwhile.
“This legislation is good for families,” said Steve Maharey.