Australian Budget 2017: foreign citizens get $15bn in welfare, by Adam Creighton.
About 870,000 non-citizens, mostly from Britain, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East, are claiming $15 billion a year in welfare benefits, according to new analysis by the Parliamentary Budget Office, raising questions about the generosity of Australia’s social security system.
$15bn is about $700 per man, woman, and child in Australia.
The analysis, requested by Liberal Democratic Party senator David Leyonhjelm, estimated that 710,000 non-citizens from nations with which Australia has no social security arrangement, including Britain, Vietnam and China, claimed an average $17,500 each annually in welfare, totalling 83 per cent of the $15bn total. …
John Wanna, a professor of public policy at Australian National University, said Australia was one of the most generous countries in the OECD for payments to non-citizens. “We’re one of the few in the OECD where somebody who doesn’t work can go straight on to benefits,” he said, noting that in Europe access to social insurance was often predicated on prior contributions.
British citizens made up the largest share of the total, at 170,000, followed by Africa and the Middle East (90,000) and China (50,000). “Before 1949 everyone here was simply a British subject,” said Professor Wanna. New Zealanders who arrived before 2001 are eligible for welfare.