Budget a slow burner

Effects over long term

For poor and disadvantaged people, the impact of this Budget will burn like a slow fuse. There is no big bang to change people's lives drastically but the tinkering measures will continue to hurt people over time, writes Jackie Brady.

- Eureka Street

What the Budget signals is not an end to the 'age of entitlement', as there are still plenty of beneficiaries of government expenditure or foregone revenue; but an end to an age in which people can be confident that the Australian Government will provide the safety net they need when times get tough.

Having a job is the best income support measure, not only for the economic benefits but for the social benefits as well. But the Budget's measure that focuses on time-limited welfare payments for young people under 30 years-of-age signals a significant shift in this Government's thoughts about where such responsibility rests. Young people in Australia under the age of 30 will now only have access to either Youth Allowance or Newstart Allowance for six months of the year.

While this Budget does provide funding for wage subsidies, these are reserved for older Australians. There is a glaring absence of any real programs designed to promote youth employment, and programs designed to assist older teens to transition to education, training or employment will be scrapped at the end of the year.

Who will provide for such young people when government funded income and/or other support measures are no longer available? Is it family, friends, acquaintances, the charity or the not-for-profit down the road? The answer may depend on individual circumstances, but there is no doubt that boundaries will be tested regarding who is responsible for what in this civil society which the government so readily promotes.

Targeting of young people currently in receipt of the Disability Support Pension and re-assessing their eligibility for it under new work activity measures is also concerning. Research that CSSA undertook a few years ago revealed that efforts to promote employment of people with a disability was marginal. The absence of manual-type work was also impacting negatively on a person's capacity to secure a job if they had a disability.

Budget more slow-burn than big bang (Eureka Street)