Long-term welfare recipients revealed

By Laura Michell


Close to 350 people living in Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges have been receiving long-term welfare payments, new data reveals.

According to Department of Social Services data, 345 people living in the area have been receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance payments for five years of more as of March 20 this year.

Across Victoria, 352,229 people have been receiving the payments long-term.

The 3021 postcode – which covers St Albans and Sunshine – topped the state, with 947 people on welfare allowances for five years or more.

The 3429 postcode, which covers Sunbury and Wildwood, recorded the region’s highest number of welfare recipients, with 169 receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance for the past five years.

Postcode 3444, including Kyneton, Tylden and Pastoria East had the next highest number of long-term welfare recipients (47), followed by the 3437 postcode which takes in Gisborne and Bullengarook (32) and 3442 which covers Woodend, Hesket and Carlsruhe (28). The 3446 postcode, which includes Malmsbury, had the least (6).

The Newstart allowance pays about $538 every fortnight and Youth Allowance pays between $244-$762 every fortnight.

The payments support people who are looking for work; doing approved activities; studying part-time and looking for work; or temporarily unable to work.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said welfare dependency cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

“But it’s an even greater cost to the people who are stuck on welfare and miss out on the sense of purpose and self-worth that a job provides,” he said.

“The children of welfare-dependent parents can pay a heavy price. We know that children who grow up in unemployed households can have a lifetime of disadvantage.

“The Turnbull government is providing a welfare system that supports people who need the most help, while focusing on improving economic conditions, creating jobs and encouraging Australians off welfare.”