Peter Whiteford is a Professor in the Crawford School. He works on child poverty, family assistance policies, welfare reform, and other aspects of social policy, particularly ways of supporting the balance between work and family life. He has published extensively on various aspects of the Australian and New Zealand systems of income support. He teaches Social Policy, Society and Change (POGO8024) and Social Policy Analysis (POGO8025).
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Discussing stories trending in this week’s media Whiteford, Director of the Social Policy Institute shared his budget analysis during an exclusive interview for the Crawford Conversation podcast series.
Earlier this year, Whiteford and Daniel Nethery of ANU modelled the impact of the budget on households by crunching the numbers that were missing from this year’s budget papers. This week’s treasury modelling back up Whiteford’s analysis.
“Our calculations and also the calculations by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra showed the budget does disproportionally impact low income groups,” said Whiteford.
The modelling found that a single parent with one child aged six on the parenting payment would lose 10 per cent of their real disposable income by 2016-17.
A single person earning three times the average wage would only lose one per cent of their disposable income. Conversely, higher income earners are set to pay more tax temporarily.
Whiteford said it was important to ensure changes to policy was equitable.
“For the past 10 years or so, we had had very good economic times and then we had stimulus measures in the budget and so for the most of the past 10 years, when you do these calculations, you can show people are better off.
“This is the first year where significant numbers of people are worse off as a result of the budget and I think it’s just not a message any government would like to present- that people are going to be worse off. It’s not an easy message to sell,” said Whiteford.
Whiteford said that the next step for the government might be to revisit its budget proposals to see if the economic heartache has been fairly shared
“You need research on the impacts of the budget. People need to have a very clear understanding of both the costs and benefits and who wins and who loses from different proposals,” said Whiteford.