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The Australian National University

International Conference on Welfare Reform: Meeting the Policy Challenges of Change

The income support system is in need of major reform to deliver better outcomes for all Australians now and into the future.... It should provide adequate support while encouraging more people to work to their capacity.... It should also reflect broader community expectations that those who can work should do so, in order to become more self-reliant, and that people should care for their children.  

Interim Report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform
to the Minister for Social Service, 2014
, p.5.

The ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation, the Social Policy Institute and the Tax and Transfer Policy Institute at the Australian National University hosted the International Conference on Welfare Reform on 16-17 September 2015, at the ANU, Canberra, Australia.

Welfare reform is an important and hotly debated issue around the world. Governments in a number of countries, including Australia, the UK and New Zealand are actively reviewing their welfare systems. This conference brought together university academics, the community sector and policy makers to provide perspectives from Australia, the UK, New Zealand and Sweden on future directions for social security systems.

Program information and presentations are available below.

Day 1 program


Andrew Podger, The Australian National University

Margaret Harding, Deputy Vice Chancellor, The Australian National University

Matthew Gray, Director, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Opening address

The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Social Services

'A New System for Better Employment and Social Outcomes'

Overview of the Final Report (939kb pdf), Patrick McClure, Chair, Reference Group on Welfare Reform

Workforce participation (young people and childcare), chaired by Bruce Chapman (ANU)

Policies to assist young people into work (119kb pdf), Jeff Borland, University of Melbourne

Patterns of exit amongst young income support recipients (702kb pdf), Agnieszka Nelson, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Child care assistance: are subsidies or tax credits better? (289kd pdf), Xiadong Gong, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra

Panel: Sally Sinclair, National Employment Service Association; Kelly Hand, Australian Institute of Family Studies; Boyd Hunter, The Australian National University; Robert Hudson, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Delivery of welfare programs, chaired by William Sanders (ANU)

Escaping the '80s: how modern technology will change the face of welfare in Australia (1.2mb pdf), Tamati Shepherd, Commonwealth Department of Human Services

Accountability, choice and payment structures in disability employment (55kb pdf), Ann Nevile, The Australian National University

Panel: Kate Beaumont, National Welfare Rights Network

Workforce participation (welfare policies and single parents), chaired by Nicholas Biddle (ANU)

Single parent analysis: recent trends and future prospects (2.9mb pdf), Ben Phillips, National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling, University of Canberra

Welfare policies: some labour market and economic perspectives (471kb pdf), Rob Bray, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Data and research needs, chaired by Matthew Gray (ANU)

Data opportunities to help guide welfare reform (438kb pdf), David Kalisch, Australian Bureau of Statistics

Challenges and threats to data collection and usage (110kb pdf), Toni Makkai, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

The role of longitudinal surveys in welfare reform (2.1mb pdf), Darren Pennay, Social Research Centre

Reflection on proceedings

Macro outcome of reforms across the whole welfare portflio (202kb pdf), Bob Gregory, The Australian National University

Sir Roland Wilson Public Lecture

Justifying conditionality: sanctions, support and behaviour change in the UK (1.9mb pdf), Peter Dwyer, University of York (UK)

Day 2 program

Keynote address

The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Shadow Minister for Families and Payments and Disability Reform

Behaviour change, chaired by Simon Jackman (ANU)

How tight are the screws? Conditions and sanctions for the unemployed in OECD countries, 1980-2012 (739kb pdf), Carlo Knotz, University of Lund (Sweden)

Conditionalities of Housing Ready: the interface of policy and practice for rehousing young people in Scotland (692kb ppsx), Alasdair Stewart, University of Glasgow (UK)

New conditionality in Australia (210kb pdf), Matthew Gray, ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Income management in the APY lands: lessons for income support policy (840kb pdf), Ilan Katz, University of New South Wales

Panel: Nicholas Biddle (63kb pdf), ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods

Payment structure and adequacy, chaired by Paul McBride (Commowealth Department of Social Services)

Adequacy of social security benefits for working age households: a comparative assessment (2mb pdf), Peter Whiteford, The Australian National University

Degrees of deservingness (680kb pdf), Peter Davidson, Australian Council of Social Service

Means testing pensions and taxing savings over the lifecourse (2.4mb pdf), Miranda Stewart, ANU Tax and Transfer Policy Institute

Universal Credit in the UK: claimants' early experiences and expectations (1.1mb pdf), Peter Dwyer, University of York (UK)

Logic, evidence and politics: the structure and adequacy of social security payments (1.6mb pdf), Andrew Podger, The Australian National University

Panel: Andrew Whitecross, Commonwealth Department of Social Services

Investment approach to welfare, chaired by Ilan Katz (UNSW)

The investment approach to recent welfare reforms in New Zealand: lessons for Australia (102kb pdf), Simon Chapple, University of Otago (NZ)

Investing for a better outcome: an Australian investment approach (268kb pdf), Serena Wilson, Commonwealth Department of Social Services

Panel: John Hewson, The Australian National University; Alan Hayes (169kb pdf), Family Action Centre, University of Newcastle


For further information about the conference, contact Agnieszka Nelson:

Updated: 16 September 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSSS / Page Contact:  Web Publisher