Investing in Australia’s Future

Date 09:30 AM 29 May 2017 - 13:00 PM 29 May 2017
Location Yasuko Hiraoka Myer Room Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre University of Melbourne 761 Swanston Street, Parkville

The Promise and Pitfalls of the ‘Investment’ Approach to Welfare.

This seminar was presented jointly by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, in partnership with the Crawford School of Public Policy (ANU) and the Institute for the Study of Social Change (UTAS).

The priority investment approach to welfare has been heralded as a new and more effective strategy to ensure that vulnerable Australians have a better future. Based on actuarial analysis, it involves identifying members of the community at risk of long-term welfare dependency and providing necessary social, education and employment services to enable them to participate more fully in the labour market and wider community. This approach has been implemented in a number of countries including New Zealand and was a key recommendation of the McClure Review of Australia’s welfare system.

Priority Investment has the potential to address entrenched disadvantage combined with its promise of delivering longer term welfare savings. Despite this, the model is not without its pitfalls and detractors. Many of those who challenge the priority investment approach, highlight the narrow targeting and limit scope of these early interventions.

This featured keynote presentations by Professor Peter Whiteford from ANU’s Crawford School of Public Policy and Dr Simon Chapple, former chief economist of New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development, now based at the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington, Professor Paul Smyth, University of Melbourne and Professor Shelley Mallett from the Brotherhood of St Laurence and University of Melbourne.


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