Greens to reverse Labor’s single parent cuts

The Greens will introduce a bill to Parliament to boost payments to single parents on Newstart, increase the amount of work they are able to do without losing their benefits and give carers an enforceable right to flexible work hours.

The bill effectively reverses cuts to single parents payments made by the Gillard and Howard governments, who pushed over 100,000 single parents on to the dole and into poverty.

The measures have been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office at an average of $360m per year (a total of $1.44 billion over the forward estimates), less than the revenue that could be raised by plugging one of the mining tax loopholes.

These measures would see single parents receive up to $127.44 per fortnight in additional support, as well as being able to earn more from paid work.

Some single parents lost up to $140/week when Labor pushed them off their parenting payment and onto Newstart on 1 January this year.

“Labor’s talk of ‘modern families’ rings hollow for single parents and their kids who have been pushed on to the dole and into poverty", Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt said.

“Labor will cut more from single parents this year than it has raised so far from the mining tax."

“The Greens would fix the mining tax so that the government can once again care for single parents.”

“Under the Greens’ proposal, single parents would get up to $127 per fortnight in additional support. Single parents would also be able earn more without losing their payments, which is one of the best ways of giving them a hand up.”

“The cost to the government is less than what would be raised by plugging just one of the mining tax loopholes.”

“Single parents and other carers should have a right to more flexible working arrangements, unless their employer has countervailing business reasons. Unlike Labor, we believe the industrial umpire should be able to balance an employer’s and employee’s needs if it can’t be worked out in the work place", Greens Welfare spokesperson Rachel Siewert said

“This legislation is an important part of the Greens’ ongoing work to make our income support system fairer for single parents.”

“The fact that Newstart is woefully inadequate is irrefutable, especially for a parent trying to care for their family."

“This announcement builds on our existing Bill to increase Newstart by $50 per week. It will provide an important supplement payment of $40 per week to single parents."

“It is important to ensure single parents are supported so they can undertake study, training and part time work - all of which are important steps towards secure employment. These are essential steps to help parents transition into the workforce and build capacity in the economy."

“By caring for families we give kids the best chance at school and set them up for when they themselves enter the workforce or look to undertake other training or further education opportunities.”

Download a Summary of the announcement

Download PBO Costing