Both Centrelink and Medicare services will be located a new look Maroochydore Service Centre from Monday 18 May.
Both Centrelink and Medicare services will be located a new look Maroochydore Service Centre from Monday 18 May.

Regional Queensland hot spots for welfare

BUNDABERG, Ipswich and Caboolture have among the most people on the dole in Queensland.

Figures from a labour market profile into Newstart and Youth Allowance payments show in January this year, 3802 people in the Bundaberg received welfare allowances, along with 3441 people in Ipswich and 3824 in Caboolture.

Other hot spots included Hervey Bay, which had 2000 recipients, and Mackay, which had 2637 people receiving welfare payments.

Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast also had a high number of people on the dole.

The figures were based on Department of Human Services centre areas.

In Australia, Queensland had the second highest number of short-term jobseekers receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance, with 40,966 people as of January this year.

When it came to disability pensions, the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, the Fraser Coast and Toowoomba had the highest numbers of recipients in the state.

Figures released in September last year for local government areas showed the Sunshine Coast had more than 10,000 people receiving the Disability Support Pension, the fifth highest in the state behind Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Moreton Bay and Logan.

Ipswich had the sixth highest number with 8810 people on the payments.

The Fraser Coast area had 7489 recipients and Toowoomba had 6829.

Bundaberg, Gympie, Rockhampton and Mackay were among the top 15 local government areas with a high population of people on disability support pensions.

Bundaberg was ranked 11th in the state with 5434 people, Gympie came in 13th with 3864 people, followed by Rockhampton with 3502 and Mackay with 2824 on the pensions.

These figures may change this year as the Federal Government cracks down on people receiving the Disability Support Pension.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said there were 850,000 pension recipients in Australia, costing $16 billion every year.

From January 1 this year, he said government-contracted doctors had been undertaking disability medical assessments for pension applicants under 35 years old and living in capital cities.

Mr Morrison said full assessment of all pension recipients was expected to start in July.

"Hundreds of people below the age of 35 have been found to be ineligible for the DSP," Mr Morrison said.

"Further, from July this year new DSP claims will need to be assessed by a Commonwealth doctor."

He said this would provide an extra level of assurance to the pension claim process.

- APN NEWSDESK


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