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Greens investigate new concerns over cuts to single parents

The Australian Greens are investigating new reports which suggest the Government’s regime of cuts to single parent payments are having additional, painful consequences for parents, ahead of another wave of single parent rallies that will take place this weekend. 

“We’ve already seen confusion and concern over things like concession cards, and now we’ve been receiving reports about people losing eligibility to the Pensioner Education Supplement, which is vitally important if parents are looking to combine raising a family with further studies, Senator Rachel Siewert,” Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.

“This is why the Greens are continuing to campaign for important changes to the income support system and why we will join with parents and their supporters at rallies around Australia this weekend to call on the Government to give parents the help and assistance they need to raise their families.

“I am concerned that as time goes on, more and more consequences of this unfair policy will begin to emerge.

“The Government rushed these cuts through Parliament and they were subsequently implemented in a haphazard way. There is no monitoring program in place to assess the impact on parents, and so the Government has no information as to how people are being affected. We also don’t know what burden is being taken up by community and emergency relief organisations.

“The calls and letters I am receiving from people in the community highlight the pressure parents are under.

“As well as supporting the rallies, I have written to the Human Services Minister, Jan McLucas over reports we’ve received that single parents are being denied access to important assistance, such as the Pensioner Education Supplement (PES).

“While people were promised their eligibility for the PES would continue when they moved to Newstart, I’ve been hearing reports of instances where this has not occurred, or that the supplement is not being reinstated if a person’s Newstart is cancelled for a short period of time.

“Studying is often an essential part of transitioning back into the workforce and finding a secure job, so this supplement payment, which can cover additional costs such as books or extra childcare, is crucial.

“With the Government refusing to reverse these cuts and the Coalition nowhere to be seen on this issue, the Greens are the only party standing up for single parents. 

“I am excited to see another round of rallies coming up and I hope the Government starts listening to the growing calls from the community,” Senator Siewert concluded.

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