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Video helps staff explain new payments

DSS made a video to help staff introduce new payments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers. The video shows how to apply and how to help customers in remote areas.

The AILO, SNAP Officers or Remote Visiting Teams in those regions ... will be on hand in the communities to help people to fill in the forms and also to take the forms back ...

Eddie Hollingsworth, DSS, 1994
About the artefact

In 1994, new government payments became available – Home Child Care Allowance (HCCA) and Partner Allowance.

The Department of Social Security (DSS) ran a live broadcast to help staff explain the payments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.


The broadcast opens with DSS presenter Elizabeth Stehr making a short introduction. She urges staff to record the middle section of the video and play it to Community Agents and customers to help them know how the payments work.

The section for staff to record features Yanyuwa woman and ABC presenter, Malarndirri McCarthy. McCarthy uses simple language and repetition to help her audience understand the payments.

Image of Malarndirri McCarthy in a blue shirt, sitting in tall dry grass. McCarthy is speaking and looking directly at the camera.
Malarndirri McCarthy in Two New Social Security Payments video
Malarndirri McCarthy, presenter in the DSS video Two new social security payments

In the video, but not included in these excerpts, McCarthy brings a HCCA form to Aboriginal women sitting under a tree. She explains how to apply for the payment and return the form. Only sections of the video where participants could give permissions are included here.

In a different part also not included here, McCarthy explains Partner Allowance to a group of people under a shelter. She explains that a couple will now share a partner’s payment equally. Graphics show cash being divided in half to illustrate this point.

McCarthy reminds viewers to fill out the form so their existing payments don’t stop. She says people should ask their Community Agents or Aboriginal and Islander Liaison Officers for help.

Image still from video, showing a close up shot of a DSS claim form. There are hands holding the form and a blue pen. for 'Home Child Care Allowance'
Closeup shot of filling in a HCCA payment form in the DSS video Two new social security payments

The video also includes an advertisement meant for a non-Indigenous audience to be played on TV. 

The video returns to the studio where Elizabeth Stehr is with a panel of DSS staff. They answer live questions about the payments, including from staff who call in with concerns about how to reach people in remote areas.

This video shows how DSS created targeted content for staff and customers about new payments impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers.

These payments changed the following year, and the department made another video for customers using similar techniques.

Source details

This video was edited to only show people who gave their permission for use in the excerpt.

The DSS Corporate Television Unit produced this video in 1994. The original VHS is held in the Department of Social Services Library.

The government introduced HCCA in 1994 as a payment intended for parents caring for children at home in place of a tax rebate. Partner Allowance meant that existing customers who were in a couple each received half of a payment, instead of the full payment going only to one person.

The payments were folded into a new payment, Parenting Allowance, by 1995.


Permissions to include these excerpts were granted by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Mr Eddie Hollingsworth.


Department of Social Security (1994) Two new social security payments [video], Corporate Television Unit, Department of Social Security, Australian Government, Canberra.