Redefining welfare: Australian social policy and practice

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Chenoweth, Lesley
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2008
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The present paper outlines and analyzes Australia's welfare reform policies as they have been implemented over the past decade. While there have been numerous social policy initiatives over this period, welfare reform provides an interesting site for analysis and review. This suite of policies and programs is of particular importance from several standpoints. First, its target groups - those needing income security assistance, including the unemployed, people with disabilities, and single parents - are historically and traditionally of concern to social work and social welfare. Second, welfare reform policies have had significant impact on social welfare agencies, and the social workers and welfare workers employed in them. Finally, welfare reform has had a wider impact on inequality in Australia and our attitudes to those in need. This paper first provides a brief overview of the context of Australian social policy and welfare, its origins and current situation. It then outlines the key operational elements of welfare reform and how it has been implemented. The third section of the paper offers a critical analysis of these policies and programs and finally poses some questions and issues requiring further discussion and research.

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Asian Social Work and Policy Review

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2

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© 2008 Blackwell Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at www.interscience.wiley.com

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Social Work

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