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Welfare reforms in Australia: how will they affect women's health?


, : Welfare reforms in Australia: how will they affect women's health?. Journal of the American Medical Women's Association 57(1): 49-53

Like most Western countries, Australia is in the process of introducing welfare reforms to curb costs. Australian reforms follow and are informed by similar reforms in the United States and United Kingdom and will be incrementally implemented until 2003. Australian reforms emphasize mutual obligation, preventing people from "taking advantage" of the welfare system, and avoiding long-term reliance on welfare. In contrast to the United States, where the mothers of young children have specifically been targeted, reforms in Australia do not privilege women's roles as workers over their roles as caregivers. Work obligations will be introduced only for mothers whose youngest child is older than 16 years. In fact, financial incentives for providing care for young children and people with disabilities have actually increased. Existing health research suggests that the impact of welfare reform on both health and society will depend on how the balance between women's roles as caregivers and workers is struck.

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PMID: 11905493


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