Benefit numbers continue steady yearly decline

  • Anne Tolley
Social Development

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the number of people receiving a benefit is continuing to decline year on year with a 2.5 per cent drop in the number of people receiving a main benefit between December 2014 and December 2015.

“The number of people receiving a main benefit has fallen by almost 7,800, or 2.5 per cent in the last 12 months,” Mrs Tolley says.

“Sole parents continue to lead the way, with a 5.7 per cent drop or 4,154 fewer people receiving Sole Parent Support compared to the same time in the previous year.”

Seasonal changes meant there was an expected rise compared to the previous quarter of 4.9 per cent, as students seek financial support over summer and seasonal work ends.

“As part of Budget 2015 and a smarter way of working, Work and Income has an additional 40,000 places in the work focused case management initiative, to help more people into employment,” Mrs Tolley says.

“The additional places are focused on sole parents and jobseekers with health conditions and disabilities and take an intensive and proactive approach to supporting people into work.

“Long term, sustainable employment can make a huge difference to families, by not only increasing their incomes but also helping to break the cycle of intergenerational welfare dependence,” Mrs Tolley says.

“We’ve set an aspirational target to reduce the total number of people receiving main benefits by 25 per cent (from 295,000 people in June 2014 to 220,000 in June 2018) and reduce the long-term cost of benefit dependence by $13 billion.

“We want the next generation to see heading off to work every day as normal, so they go on to join the workforce and have every opportunity to get ahead.”

The latest benefit data is available at