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A hundred years ago there was no social security system in Australia. Charitable relief was provided to needy persons by voluntary organisations, in some cases with the assistance of government grants. The main areas of need that attracted assistance were the ‘sick poor’, neglected children, old people who were destitute and women who had been deserted or who had ‘fallen’ pregnant. The unemployed were assisted by grants of wages, or rations, in return for relief work provided by the government.
The provision of income to these groups aims to ensure that people have adequate levels of income to support themselves and their dependants. Carers of these particular groups are also entitled to various benefits.
Income maintenance payments are provided to individuals by the Commonwealth Government, primarily through the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA).
The Tasmanian government also provides a number of concessions to students, the unemployed, low income earners and seniors. For more information about these concessions see the Tasmanian Government Concessions guide 2004-05 (Adobe Acrobat format) on the Tasmanian Premier's web site.
In Tasmania, local governments may also provide council rate remissions for those holding a Pensioner Concession Card.
DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES
FaCS is responsible for putting to work the Government's social support policies for families, working-age people and those who are retired. The Department also manages the delivery of services for people with disabilities, families with children, community support (excluding the Home and Community Care Program), family relationships, and welfare housing.
More information about FaCS can be found at the FaCS web site, http://www.facs.gov.au
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS
DVA is responsible for serving members of Australia's veteran and defence force communities, their war widows/widowers, widows/widowers and dependants through programs of care, compensation, commemoration and defence support services.
More information about DVA can be found at the DVA web site, http://www.dva.gov.au