|Jan Barham MLC and Dawn Walker, Greens candidate|
27 April 2013
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says working single parents on Newstart deserve far better support from the Federal Government, rather than ongoing punishment.
“The Australian Institute of Family Studies report ‘Parents Working Out Work’ shows us that the number of working single mothers has increased significantly over the last two decades, with the employment participation rate increasing by 13%,” Senator Siewert said today.
“This confirms yet again what we knew about the January cuts to parenting payments - single parents were already engaging in the work force.
"These cuts were about saving money, not helping parents.
“What is especially unfair is that the working single parents affected by January’s cuts have been effectively penalised twice by the change – first through the drop in income support, and secondly through the low Newstart income threshold.
“As it stands, you can only earn a paltry $62 per fortnight before your Newstart begins to reduce.
“It is incredibly hard to juggle work with raising a family, particularly for single parents. To compound matters, Newstart effectively penalises people for working by reducing their income support at a very rapid rate.
“It's all well and good for the Government to tell people to simply increase the number of hours they work, but what about the subsequent increase to childcare expenses and the reduction in time people have to spend with their families?
“By increasing Newstart by $50 per week and addressing the low income threshold, the Government can ensure parents are able to work part time and raise their families with the extra safety net provided by their income support payment.
“To date, there has been no care or compassion in the Government’s approach to single parents, and only the Greens are offering strong, costed policy alternatives to help single parents raise their kids and find secure work,” Senator Siewert concluded.