Committee report a chance to scrap cuts to single parent payments

The Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed a Senate Committee recommendation to delay the Federal Government legislation that would see the payments of over 100,000 single parents slashed from early 2013, adding that the breathing space should lead to the sensible reversal of the unnecessary and damaging plan.

“ACOSS has demonstrated in the recent Inquiry that the proposal to take as much as $60 a week out of the hands of some of the most struggling single parent families would have a severe impact on their ability to care and meet the needs of their children,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO.

“We described the move at the time as the only blight on an otherwise fair and balanced federal Budget. We don’t think it was well thought out, and are pleased proper time will now be given for a serious evaluation of the impacts.

“We urge the Government to heed the recommendations in the Committee report, and do the right thing by single parents and their children by scraping the plan together.

“The majority report of the Committee rejected the argument that the cuts would help parents into paid work, and also dismissed the idea that placing all sole parents on the lowest payments was “fair”. The Committee recommended that the Senate defer consideration of the Bill until the other important inquiry into the adequacy of payments including Newstart is completed at the end of the year.

“It also recommended deferral until the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has concluded its report, following an appeal from ACOSS on human rights grounds. In our letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, ACOSS stressed that in our view the Bill’s intention to cease parenting payments when a single parent’s youngest child turns 8 years old is a violation of human rights, as defined by the core United Nations treaties.

“On all these grounds ACOSS is of the firm view that the announced cuts cannot be supported and we urge the Government to use the Committee’s recommended deferral as an opportunity to rethink the decision which has the potential to harm so many parents and their children,” Dr Goldie said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee Inquiry Report here >>

Find out more about the proposed cuts and the ACOSS campaign here >>