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Welfare Groups Concerned Over Proposed Cuts to Family Payments

4 May 2012 at 5:29 pm
Staff Reporter
Speculation that the Federal Government will cut welfare payments to families in order to return a surplus in next week’s budget would worsen poverty in Australia, according to the nation's leading welfare bodies.

Staff Reporter | 4 May 2012 at 5:29 pm


Welfare Groups Concerned Over Proposed Cuts to Family Payments
4 May 2012 at 5:29 pm

Speculation that the Federal Government will cut welfare payments to families in order to return a surplus in next week’s budget would worsen poverty in Australia, according to the nation's leading welfare bodies.

The Government is expected to cut parenting support for single parents whose children are older than eight years and scale down child support payments to couples with children in Tuesday's budget, delivering $700 million in savings.

But the Australian Council of Social Service, National Welfare Rights Network, and National Council for Single Mothers and their Children say that a budget surplus should not come at the expense of the most needy.

"Sole parents are already required to seek paid work once their youngest child turns eight, this won't make any difference to their job prospects whatsoever, and in fact will make them worse," ACOSS chief executive Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

"One third of single parents on parenting payment already work, mostly part-time. This would effectively mean a cut in income of $59 a week for those on the maximum rate who are already struggling to raise their children on low payments," Dr Goldie said.

The peak bodies are urging the government to instead focus on tackling poorly targeted subsidies and tax concessions and tax loopholes which they say would save billions of dollars to the budget bottom line.

President of the National Welfare Rights Network Maree O’Halloran said that the surplus should not be built on the backs of Australia's poorest families and their children.

“Keeping a roof over their heads, paying utility bills and paying for school expenses is going to be that much harder under if these cuts proceed," O'Halloran said.

"We estimate such a move would force a further 100,000 single parents of children from disadvantaged and low income families onto the lower paying Newstart Allowance.”

O’Halloran said that the current rate of social security payment for a person in receipt of Parenting Payment Single is $324 a week.

However, the rate of payments for a principal carer on Newstart is just $265 per week – a payment reduction of $59 a week or $3,086 a year.

"Financial Hardship makes finding a job so much harder. No one wins when some children just get are left behind – a family breaks down when struggling with financial stress on a daily basis," National Council of Single Mothers and their Children chief executive Terese Edwards said.

Meanwhile, UnitingCare’s Lin Hatfield Dodds said that the government should address the issues that make it difficult for single parents to get a job.

“Entry level jobs are scarce, especially in areas where unemployment rates are two to three times the national average,” Hatfield Dodds said. “This is a complex issue that demands a comprehensive response.”

A report by ACOSS which was released last week identifies around $8 billion dollars in budget savings if the Federal Government tackles poorly targeted subsidies and tax concessions and clamps down on tax loopholes such as ‘golden handshakes’ and other shelters.

"Our report ‘Waste not, want not: Making room in the Budget for essential services' identifies around $8 billion that could be saved by targeting the new layer of rebates which have grown unsustainably in the past decade as well as other tax breaks and loopholes, which overwhelming benefit those on high incomes," Dr Goldie said.

The Federal Budget will be handed down on Tuesday May 8.


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  • Anonymous says:

    This is discusting, let’s get out there and protest, come on, waht the hell is happening to this world and our children.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Us mums with school age kids already answer to centerlink and look for work, study and have job network interviews. Why cut our money?? I work as a motel cleaner and with the budget I lose my income support so it is much worse for the mum who work, sounds stupid doesnt?? The mum who works or study will be hurt the most. My ex pays $7 a week to us so thats no help. How come drug addicts can be on disablility allowance, but parent cant get parenting payment?? Where are all these jobs going to come from? We cant just take any job any hours, there is no way Im leaving my 8yr old alone. This budget only encourages the baby making bludgers to have more kids and kick us hard working mums. Where are we going to live? Because I am on newstart now Im not able to get social housing. Please contact politicians ( none have got back to me yet) and let them know how badly this budget will effect your family,.

  • VLorente says:

    Single mums (of all ages) are already doing tough. Single mums don’t ask to be single mums-they become that way through domestic or family violence. They are already working (abeit unpaid). They only have themselves to rely on – there is no husband to rely on (and in many cases no extended family) for help either. If you reduce single parent payments both the mothers and their children will be thrown into abject poverty. Most of these families will be living in rental accommodation, recently landlords have started to reaccess tenants income to see if they still come under or on the 1/3 affordabilty range. With these new changes to income many of these families’ income will fall below the 1/3 line – leading to evictions and homelessness. The Government has also not kept up with it’s promise to provide housing for these people either. On thre matter of jobs – there isn’t enough jobs for the job hunters that are out there right now, let alone anybody else! There will also be more pressure placed on welfare organisations to help, at a time when welfare orgs are losing government funding and workers. This is not how an effective democracy works. Welfare organisations have already submitted a list of more effective cost cuts (as mentioned in the above article) – how can we make the Government listen?

  • Toni says:

    I am a single mother. I had no choice but to get out of a very bad relationship. I have a very happy healthy son. I am so concerned about this payment cut. I am in a lease agreement. I have bills and I get two months notice I will be over 100 dollars a week worse off. I work 30 hours a week for minimal wage. We don’t have a cent left from pay week to pay week. Thats our food money. What do I do????

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a single mother with two young children and a full time uni student. I have no idea with this cut until I got a call from the centerlink about 1 month ago. I have no time to prepare financially and have no saving to cover the $60/week cut.

    For those single parents who iare trying to apply for a private rental property, with already low income figure to put on the form, this HUGE weekly income cut will make it impossible to put a roof over their childern’s heads. It is very sad.

    I think the problem is that our single parent group is a weak group in our society and have no say in the government’s doing.

    We should be united and bond together by forming a force. So we can take action to fright for our rights and protect our group from the same thing happened again. If we don’t do something to have our voice out there, who would do it for us? The politicians are definitely not there to do us any good as you can see.

    With my voter’s right, I can’t wait to vote this current government out in the upcoming election so at last I finally can voice my disappointment.

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