The first of January this year marked twelve months since thousands of single parent families were forced onto Newstart and into severe hardship, according to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS). It also marked the launch of the 10 stories website www.10storiesofsinglemothers.org.au which features ‘ten courageous mothers who candidly speak about the reality of Newstart: its cruel impacts, the humiliation, and why change is desperately needed’.
Terese Edwards, CEO National Council of Single Mothers & their Children, said, ‘The ten women represent the plight of thousands of Australian families, the victims of this cruel and harsh policy. Newstart was never meant for families and it occurs when the youngest child turns eight.’
According to ACOSS, the Newstart payment is ‘so low that families can’t afford the essentials, like putting food on the table, and keeping a roof over their family’s head.
‘It punishes a parent in employment with reported losses of up to $160 per week.
‘It has forced women to stop studying, and [lost them] chance for a secure job.’
The 10 stories website calls for an immediate increase in Newstart of $50 per week; an
increase in the allowable earnings to the equivalent of the parenting payment single;
indexing of Newstart and payments to wage movement to stop it from falling further behind; and a commitment to a national strategy to end child poverty in Australia.
10 stories is a national collaboration made possible by the Sydney Community Foundation’s Sydney Women`s Fund, Snow Foundation and Filmstretch.