SINGLE parents around the nation will hold protest rallies tomorrow morning against federal government cuts to parenting payments.
Single Parent Action Group Newcastle spokeswoman Karen Davies said the rally would start at 9.30am at the Centrelink office in King Street, Newcastle, and go to the Hunter Street electoral office of federal Newcastle MP Sharon Grierson before ending with a public meeting at Newcastle Trades Hall.
Parliamentary papers show the government expects to save $728million over four years by moving more than 80,000 single parents from a parenting payment scheme to the Newstart unemployment benefit.
‘‘Even the bureaucrats acknowledge that people are disadvantaged by the changes,’’ Ms Davies said.
‘‘The maximum rate is about $120 a fortnight less, and the harsher Newstart income and assets test could mean people being $500 a fortnight worse off.
‘‘And Newstart has more rigorous participation requirements than the parenting payment, which is designed to help you as a parent, not starve you as a job-seeker.
‘‘It’s a cruel and inhumane policy, begun by the Liberal Party in 2006 and now extended by Labor.
‘‘It’s a backward step that will make it harder for single parents and their children as the adult of the family is increasingly forced to work out of school hours.’’
Ms Grierson said she understood how difficult it was for single parent families to make ends meet and she had raised the issue in caucus.
She said the changes meant all parenting payment recipients were treated equally, regardless of when they first claimed the payment.
Ms Davies said the changes should be rescinded and the parenting payment eligibility restored to its pre-2006 levels.
Protesters Karen Davies with 12-year-old daughter Melody and Ross Benton deliver their message. Picture: Brock Perks