Thursday, July 31, 2008

Australian benefit statistics

Yesterday an anonymous (but not new) critical commentor refused to accept that there are more beneficiaries in Australia per capita than in New Zealand.

I really don't like being called a liar; having statistics I provide or refer to described as "fake". Occasionally I will make a mistake and if I realise I have done so, will correct it.

Here are the Australian statistics at June 2007;

Disability support pension 714,156
Mature age allowance 5,032
Newstart allowance 417,793
Parenting payment (single) 395,495
Sickness allowance 7,624
Widows 40,247

Total 1,580,347

(The total goes higher when Youth Allowance recipients aged 18,19,and 20 years are added but I don't have the specific figure. Parenting payments for partnered people and partner allowances are also available - 190,415 - but not included as we don't have equivalents.)

These are all means-tested working-age income support payments.

Our equivalent total at June 2007 was 261,009.

To calculate a per capita comparison multiply our total by a factor of 5.0063 which reproduces 1,306,689.

Well under the actual Australian total.

Hence my original claim that per capita Australia has more beneficiaries than NZ.


PC said...

Perhaps is you included the number of beneficiaries on Welfare for Working Families?

Lindsay said...

Families on WFF who receive no benefit income, but receive more than they pay in tax, numbered 66,500 last year. So that would push up our total. But then I would have to go looking for any Australian equivalent 'tax credit' scheme to compare like with like which is what I have tried to do.

Anonymous said...

WFF is a benefit. People who get WFF are beneficiaries - of course I was counting them.

Tax credits aren't benefits: they shouldn't be counted.

Add in WFF and we are clearly well ahead of Australia.

More to the point, the figure from here:

is 454,000 not 290,000. Scale that up that the full "benefit" of labour government is readily apparent!

Lindsay said...

Why don't you get it right. The 454,081 refers to the total number of people receiving supplemenatry benefits, TAS or a Special benefit. These are very often people who have jobs.

And WFF is a system of tax credits. Sure some people are receiving more in credits than they pay but most are not.

Simon said...

You left out accommodation supplement.

WFF is sold as tax credits (mainly because low income earners pay too much tax) but it is paid out to raise income levels of people with children. That sounds like a benefit to me.

WFF is not being adjusted downwards when the tax thresholds are adjusted from October. WFF benefit payments are to increase from October. Benefit creep for sure.

There is a much easier way to allow a tax credit for people with children simply a tax free income band of say $15,000 per child. But instead we have a vast WFF benefit system.

Lindsay said...

Again, the accommodation supplement is not a main means-tested benefit which is what I used to define being a beneficiary.

A good many WFF recipients are working, net contributors so I wouldn't define them as beneficiaries.

I don't know why the tax system has to even involve itself in how many children people have. That is to accept children are some sort of public good, which I don't. If you can't afford them, don't have them. Choice and responsibility.

Lindsay said...

"Add in WFF and we are clearly well ahead of Australia."

Australia also has a system of Family Tax Benefits. Around 2 million families receive them.

As I said try and stick to comparing apples with apples.

Anonymous said...

Australia also has a system of Family Tax Benefits. Around 2 million families receive them.

Those are tax credits - not benefits.

There is a big difference.

The biggest problem I have with this is why you are trying to argue that the Labour government has done something good!

Lindsay said...

Working For Families Tax Credits

Family Tax Benefit

What's the big difference?

I am not arguing Labour have done something good. I abhor WFF and have blogged about its destructiveness frequently.

This post was a response to an anonymous (your?) comment that I was lying when I said Australia have more beneficiaries per capita than NZ.