Submission on DSS Financial Wellbeing & Capability Activity Discussion Paper

The DSS discussion paper contains some positive directions, such as suggestions for enhanced training and development for the workers in the FWC sector. However, TasCOSS believes some of the proposed changes would be detrimental to vulnerable people who need access to emergency relief and other financial support. We believe that these proposals would be particularly harmful in Tasmania, because 31.3% of Tasmania’s population are in the most disadvantaged socioeconomic status quintile (one-fifth) of Australia’s population, a higher proportion than for any other State or Territory.
In our view, the discussion paper is vague about the problem(s) needing to be addressed, and provides no evidence base for these proposed solutions. Any redesign of the Financial Wellbeing and Capability system needs to be based on evidence about clients: who they are, their reasons for seeking assistance and whether these are changing, how or if client cohorts are changing, what service providers know about their clients, and specific local issues, challenges and solutions. It also should be based on consultation with clients. Best practice public administration theory and practice recognises the need to place the citizen at the heart of policy considerations, and to involve citizens, particularly the citizen with lived experience of the issue under concern, as active agents in policy making. The case for the proposed changes in this discussion paper does not include evidence of such consultations having occurred, or if they did, what the recommendations of these consultations were.

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