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Cruel policies must be changed as more single parent families face a life of poverty

The Australian Greens said today that the older parties have condemned single parents and their children to poverty and called on them to change their cruel policies.

Melbourne University's latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey has found the incidence of poverty among single parent households is more than three times higher than two parent households.

"Almost a quarter of children in single parent households are living in poverty. This is a situation that should not exist in a nation such as ours," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens families and community services spokesperson said today.

"The welfare to work policy of the Howard Government and continuation of it by Labor has increased poverty for single parents and their children. The dumping of more single parents onto Newstart in January will condemn more children to poverty.

"Both Labor and the Coalition are culpable for this increase. All the signs coming from Tony Abbott suggest any government he leads would make further cuts and make things harder for people struggling on income support.

"The drop in income for single parents moving from Newstart, around $60-$120 per week, makes it very tough to survive. Newstart's harsh income test makes it a lot harder for single parents, the majority of whom are already working, to balance part time employment with their responsibilities as parents.

"The Government's miserly effort to address this, by effectively allowing people on Newstart to work 1 extra hour a week before their payments reduce, is wholly inadequate.

"This change is the subject of a current Senate Inquiry and the Government should review this commitment and ensure that it properly addresses the dire effect of their policy on single parents and their families.

"I think people are rightly concerned that neither Labor nor Tony Abbott are working to help those people in our community with the greatest level of need. Only the Greens are taking a strong stand on this issue," Senator Siewert concluded.


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