Catholic voice in new welfare reform consult

The Church will be represented on the Federal Government's new Welfare Reform Consultative Forum by Catholic Welfare Australia Executive Director Frank Quinlan (pictured).

The Age reports that the Welfare Reform Consultative Forum has been brought together by Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews to help the government roll out its controversial welfare changes.

Business leaders, welfare groups and government ministers have met in Melbourne to add the finishing touches to the federal government's new welfare regime.

Under a $3.6 billion package announced in May's budget, the government plans to move people from welfare to work by forcing single parents, the disabled and the long-term unemployed into jobs.

The newly-named Welfare to Work Consultative Forum discussed how to enforce compliance with the government's new measures and how to generate employer demand for welfare recipients.

Along with Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews and Workforce Participation Minister Peter Dutton, the forum includes representatives from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Rio Tinto, Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Mission Australia, the Salvation Army, Catholic Welfare Australia, Jobs Australia and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

Following the preliminary two-hour meeting, in which the government explained its package to stakeholders, the 15-member group will meet again next month to respond.

Mr Quinlan told The Age that he hopes there would be robust debate among the forum members.

"I think it would be a wasted forum if there weren't some ... robust discussions about the way forward," he said.

But he's welcomed the opportunity to have a say in the welfare-to-work roll-out.

New forum meets to nut out welfare plans (The Age/Australian Associated Press 18/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Welfare To Work Consultative Forum - Providing High Level Strategic Advice to Government (Minister Kevin Andrews/Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Media Release 19/7/05)
Catholic Welfare Australia

19 Jul 2005