Federal member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, has responded to community concerns about the government’s changes to the parenting payment.
‘This government’s changes means single parents whose youngest child is turning eight this year, and couples whose youngest child is turning six, will now be under the same rules as parents who began receiving parenting payment after July 2006,’ she told Echonetdaily.
Parents will then either need to find work or transfer to the much lower Newstart allowance.
Groups around the country protested the changes over the weekend, including at Brunswick Heads, where Greens MP Jan Barham and Richmond candidate Dawn Walker castigated the government over them.
But Mrs Elliot said the changes ‘ended the two tiered system introduced by the Howard government, which meant that new single parents went onto Newstart but allowed the ones already on parenting payments to stay on them. This meant that people in similar situations were receiving different payments.’
She did say, however, that she supported calls to increase the Newstart allowance.
‘I understand there are calls in the community to address the inadequacy of Newstart and I’ll continue to raise these concerns within the government,’ she said.
‘It’s important to remember [that] other assistance [is] available to parents such as the Family Tax Benefit, School Kids Bonus, Rent Assistance and child care subsidies such as Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate.’