Topics:  justine elliot, welfare cuts

Impact of cuts to parenting payment being felt in Tweed

Parents struggle to make ends meet after parenting payment is cut.
Parents struggle to make ends meet after parenting payment is cut. spwidoff

TWEED parents on Centrelink payments face financial hardship due to welfare cuts announced in the 2012-2013 Federal Budget.

In a move that Richmond MP Justine Elliot claims is designed to "assist parents to get back into work," some parents will lose up to $100 a week from their benefits.

"I don't know how I will manage," said one Banora Point mother who works part-time to support her daughter.

"I will need to find more work and there is a shortage.

"It's a Catch 22 situation.

"If I get more work, I'll need to pay for after school care.

"Centrelink has told me nothing about the cuts.

"I heard it on the news."

Mrs Elliot said the change means single parents with a child turning eight this year and couples with a child who is turning six (school age) will now be under the same rules as parents who began receiving parenting payment after July 2006.

"The change addresses an inequity created by the Howard government that has resulted in single parents in the same situation receiving differential income support," Mrs Elliot said.

"Our focus as a government has always been on jobs because the best thing you can do for any unemployed Australian is to get them into work."

The impact of the changes is so great that Tweed Heads Family centre will employ a new staff member to deal with affected parents.

Executive director of the centre David Boutkan said the federal government would provide funding to help them.

"We don't yet know what the impact will be," he told My Daily News.

"But we are interested in seeing what eventuates."

Mr Boutkan said the centre was in a politically sensitive position and could not criticise the move while accepting funding from the government.

The funding will provide support services to families and address the challenges presented by changes to the Parenting Payment, according to Mr Boutkan.

"The project will pay particular attention to providing key coordination of services to meet parent needs in adapting to the changes," he said.

"Tweed Shire human service agencies will meet this week to discuss the possible impact of parenting payment changes on families in our region.

"The aim of the meeting will be to develop a coordinated approach to assist them to access appropriate services."



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