Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says the Greens will oppose changes to parenting payments in the Senate tomorrow, as the Government ignores the recommendations of two Parliamentary Inquiries by bringing the Fair Incentives to Work legislation on for debate.
”As a country, we should be judged on how we care for those in our society doing it toughest,” Senator Siewert said today.
“This legislation is more about balancing the Government’s budget than any notion of fairness or looking after vulnerable families. It will only result in more children living in poverty.
"Cutting support for single parents working hard to bring up our next generation should be the last thing we consider as part of delivering a budget surplus, for instance when there are billions of dollars a year still going to hugely profitable mining companies.
“The Greens will not support any attempts to rubber stamp legislation that moves nearly 150,000 single parents on to the Newstart Allowance.
“Both a Senate Inquiry and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights have recommended that debate on this cost cutting measure is deferred until the Senate Inquiry into Newstart and other allowance payments, that the Greens initiated, is completed.
“One of the most concerning findings from the Human Rights Committee report was that the Government has not explored other options to helping people into work. Given the huge financial impact of this change on single parent families, surely looking at other options is appropriate.
“The Senate inquiry into this legislation revealed that almost half of the affected parents are already in part time employment- juggling caring with working. Dropping these parents onto Newstart will also reduce the threshold for part time work, making those who do try to participate in the workforce even worse off.
“In the event that the legislation it is brought on for debate, I will move amendments to remove the parenting payment cuts from the Bill,” Senator Siewert concluded.