A family that pockets more than $1,000 a week in welfare say they struggle to buy food and pay rent on their housing commission home.
Dianne Bramstead, 63, lives with her 34-year-old daughter Alana Perry, and five of her six grandchildren in Melbourne’s western outskirts.
Her mother was herself on welfare, meaning the family has been dependent on the taxpayer for four generations.
Ms Bramstead gets $700 in disability pension a fortnight, as does Ms Perry – though neither specified their disabilities – in addition to a $650 single parent allowance.
‘It isn’t a lot of money, because by the time you buy your food, your fares, your power, it doesn’t go very far,’ she told A Current Affair.
Her mother received $2 a month, but she said ‘you could buy a lot with two dollars a month’ and costs had risen so much it was no longer enough.
The family-of-seven are some of thousands of Australians dependent government handouts that cost the country $157 billion a year, often transferred to descendants.
‘I don’t want all the grandkids to have to go through that same cycle of being on benefits,’ Ms Bramstead said.
Her fears about Ms Perry’s children, aged five to 16, becoming locked in the welfare cycle are real, according to studies by the Universities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Children of parents on welfare are almost twice as likely to end up on benefits themselves by their early 20s than those with working parents.
A staggering 58 per cent followed their parents into welfare dependency, compared with 32 per cent of the rest of young adults.
Their suburb of Werribee is also notorious for its high population of benefits receivers, along with Logan in Brisbane and Mount Druitt in Sydney.
Both Ms Bramstead and Ms Perry said they hated being on welfare and wanted to work, but couldn’t find a job.
‘Even though I’m on disability I still want to get out and work,’ Ms Perry said
‘I’ve completed my Certificate II, but a lot want Certificate III and IV. They just expect too much from people that are starting out.’
Her eldest daughter was also unemployed after leaving school in Year 10 and moved out of the house with her boyfriend.
‘She just can’t get a job anywhere. She lives out with the boyfriend,’ Ms Bramstead said.
Australia’s welfare budget ballooned more than $40 billion in the past decade, making it a third of the budget and almost as big as New Zealand’s GDP.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said the cycle had to be broken both for the national interest and those on welfare.