Fact sheet

Fact Check: Is Newstart spending growth lower under the Coalition and are recipients moving off it faster?

Liberal Party of Australia Social security

Social Services Minister Christian Porter claims that Newstart spending under Labor grew at an annual average rate of 13.5 per cent, compared with 3.7 per cent under the Coalition. Is that correct? And does this mean people are moving off Newstart into employment more quickly under the Coalition? Mr Porter's claim is spin. An analysis of departmental annual reports shows that over six Labor budget years Newstart spending increased at an annual average pace of 13.8 per cent, compared with 3.5 per cent so far under the Coalition. This more or less accords with Mr Porter's figures. However, it is a stretch for him to suggest the difference reflects the Coalition's hard work. Experts contacted by Fact Check noted the rise in Newstart spending under Labor initially reflected a rise in unemployment linked to the Global Financial Crisis ' a factor beyond the Australian government's control ' and later was affected by policy decisions designed to save the budget money, including shifting tens of thousands of single parents from the Parenting Payment (single) to the less generous Newstart. In addition, there is no evidence to show that people have been making the transition from Newstart to employment more quickly under the Coalition. The latest Department of Social Services figures show that Newstart recipients are exiting the payment at a slower rate than they were in any of Labor's six budget years.
Verdict: Spin

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