Single mums told to find a job

Find a job, Jenny Macklin tells single parents whose benefits are being slashed

Source: The Australian

FAMILIES Minister Jenny Macklin has urged single parents whose benefits have been slashed from today to find a job and show their children a strong work ethic.

Tighter restraints on the parenting payment will see around 80,000 single parents, mainly mothers, forced off their pension and moved on to the dole once their youngest child has turned eight, leaving the families up to $223 a fortnight worse off.

Ms Macklin today defended the changes, saying there was evidence this would prompt more single parents to get back to work.

“Unfortunately we have far too many people – children growing up in Australia in families where nobody is working,” she said. “The more that people go back to work, the better.

“It’s better for the family, it’s great for the kids to see mum and/or dad, or both, going to work.”

The Australian Council of Social Service and National Welfare Rights Network say reducing access to the parenting payment will have “the greatest impact on people trying to survive on low incomes”.

The measures will claw back $728 million in budget savings over four years.

“Single parents will see a cut of between $60 and $110 per week. This will have a devastating impact on single parent families and their children,” said ACOSS head Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“These families are already struggling as they live below the poverty line.

“Newstart is paid at a much lower rate than parenting payment. These cuts should be delayed until Newstart is increased.”

National Welfare Rights Network vice president Kate Beaumont also said students will be hit by government changes to Austudy.

“Many young people face ongoing financial difficulties and severe financial stress,” she said. “Low rates of payments add weight to calls from business, welfare groups, the ACTU and the OECD to increase unemployment and student payments by $50 a week.”

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