ACOSS urges Government to rethink cuts to sole parents and to lift Allowances

The Australian Council of Social Service is appealing to the Federal Government to reconsider its planned Budget cuts to single parent families and raise the inadequate payment for Newstart and other Allowance recipients to prevent more than 100,000 families from falling deeper into poverty.

“Only last week we saw further evidence from the Salvation Army that people on Newstart and Parenting Payments are among those presenting in the highest numbers for emergency relief. Yet these people are not presenting for one-off emergencies. Allowance payments are simply not enough to cover the costs of food and bills, housing, healthcare, transport and schooling for those with children,” said Acting ACOSS CEO Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine.

“The move to force single parent families onto the even lower paying Newstart Allowance is not a work incentive but a recipe for more poverty, which community groups and charities will be left to deal with.

Her comments came as ACOSS released a detailed paper on the impact of this measure and its implications for sole parent families. “The proposal to shift around 150,000 sole parents to Newstart and other Allowances would reduce their income support by up to $60 per week. Even with the increases in family payments and the Supplementary Allowance, we calculate a sole parent family with a primary school age child will still be about $40 a week worse off.”

“We urge the Parliament on all sides to raise the inadequacy of these payments at every opportunity, particularly as Budget bills begin to come forward.

“We reiterate our call for the Newstart Allowance to be increased by $50 per week, as recommended by the comprehensive Henry Tax Review and supported by the business community and economists. After 20 years without any real increase, the $4 per week Supplementary Allowance in the Federal Budget is a first step. However it won’t resolve the serious financial deprivation of people living on this payment today, including many people with children,” Dr Boyd-Caine said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

More Information:
New ACOSS Factsheet on proposed single parenting cuts

Note to Editors: Single parent families available for interviews