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Parenting payment cuts start to hurt single parents

The Australian Greens have called on Federal MPs who supported parenting payment cuts to visit community relief centres over the coming weeks to understand the financial pressures being faced by families affected by the cuts.

"From today, up to 84,000 single parents will begin to move from parenting payment to Newstart Allowance, a reduction of household income of between $60 to $100 per week," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on families and community services said today.

"Community and emergency relief organisations are concerned about the impact of this change on their already stretched resources, as single parents families cope with the change over the festive season, summer holidays and back to school period.

"The serious concern for me is that people will be going without the absolute essentials, like fresh food, due to this income cut.

"For people on low income, the food budget is one of the few areas in which cuts can be made, so many parents have to cut corners to make ends meet.
"Foodbank's End Hunger Report 2012 identified the fact that unemployed people and single parent families are amongst the most likely groups to be provided with assistance, so we know that cutting incomes in this way is going to make things even harder.

"In response to questions I asked in the Senate, the Government has almost no plan in place to assist organisations over this transition period, or even to monitor the demand for services.

"Thankfully, community groups are working together to assess and understand the impact this policy is having on single parent families.

"The community sector has to pick up the pieces now that the Government has implemented yet another policy that is more about the now non-existent surplus than what is best for our community.

"MPs should make the effort to go and see first hand what impact their decisions are having," Senator Siewert concluded.

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