Why the Federal Government has been spending $2.6 billion on a food stamp program that could save $1 billion in 2020 – ABC News
The Federal Government is spending $3.6bn on a new food stamp system, but it could save more than $1bn in 2020, according to a report.
The Government has announced $3 billion in food stamp funding for 2020, and it will expand the program by a further $1.6b over the next four years.
It will now cover more than 3.1 million people, up from 2.7 million last year.
In 2020, more than 8.3 million people will be eligible for food assistance, the latest data from the Department of Agriculture and Food.
About 1.7m people will also receive some form of cash assistance, which is up by almost 600,000 since last year and is the largest increase since the program was introduced in 2014.
A further $4.2bn is earmarked for community services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
Last year, the Government estimated that about $3bn of the $4bn spent on the food stamp budget would be spent on payments to people with serious health conditions.
As a result, the budget could save about $1,500 per person.
But a senior Treasury source said the Government would not spend the money on food stamps as a direct result of the decision.
“We have no intention of using the money for food stamps,” the source said.
“[We] know it is an important part of our long-term commitment to the economy.”
The report from the Productivity Commission found that the program could be effective in improving health outcomes for people who have chronic conditions.
“The program will save money for families and provide additional income to people who otherwise would have to rely on government handouts,” it said.
“We also believe the program will provide significant value to society by reducing the need for food stamp payments and providing additional support to people in need.”
It said the program would help alleviate the pressures of long-time low income households and reduce the number of people on food support.
Since its introduction, the program has been criticised by some quarters for not providing sufficient assistance to people without serious health concerns.
However, a spokesman for the Government told the ABC that the Government was continuing to review the food stamps program.
Food security, food prices, and the economy ‘will not go up’In a speech on Monday, Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison said that while the Government had no intention to spend the funds, it was committed to spending $1b on a range of social services in the coming years.
“Our focus is on ensuring that everyone who needs assistance gets it,” Mr Morrison said.