This audit would assess the effectiveness of the Department of Social Services’ (DSS’) and Services Australia’s administration of parenting payments including paid parental leave (PPL) and dad and partner pay.

The Australian Government provides a range of parenting payments to parents for children. Some are one-off payments (such as the dad and partner pay) and others (such as PPL) are ongoing payments. DSS is responsible for parenting administration and Services Australia provides parenting payments to eligible recipients on DSS’ behalf.

In March 2022, changes to PPL were announced to come into effect from 1 July 2023 (subject to the passing of legislation) to enhance the flexibility of the scheme, and in the October 2022–23 Budget, $531.6 million was allocated over four years to ‘modernise the PPL scheme and promote a more equal distribution of work within households’. Changes include expansion of the PPL scheme from 18 to 26 weeks by 1 July 2026, allowing working parents to choose how they share the weeks of PPL entitlements between parents, and introducing a family income limit in addition to the individual income limit to determine eligibility. In 2021–22, PPL of $2.5 billion was paid to 178,788 individuals.

Work program portfolios

This potential Performance audit is featured in 2 annual audit work program portfolios: