The Australian Government and state and territory governments spent an estimated $157 billion on welfare in 2015–16 (cash payments, welfare services, and unemployment benefits), up from $117 billion in 2006–07. This is an average growth rate (in real terms) of 3.4% per annum.
Per person expenditure on welfare rose an average of 1.7% a year over the 10-year period in real terms (from $5,663 to $6,566 per Australian resident).
Welfare spending now accounts for a larger proportion of gross domestic product than before: 9.5% in 2015–16 compared with 8.6% in 2006–07.
In 2015, the welfare workforce represented 4.1% of the total workforce in Australia, an estimated 478,000 workers. The number of workers has increased by 84% since 2005.