The Australian Greens said today that the Federal Government's budget would not stand up to a ‘families test', given its tough measures that would disproportionately target single parents and low income households.
"Since May, the budget has not stood up to any level of scrutiny and in fact hurts the disadvantaged the most. Its flaws would be clearly exposed by a families test or impact statement, as has been introduced in the UK," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services.
"I find it surprising that the Minister is talking about a test to look at the impact of policies on families, when the Government's budget clearly hurts them, particularly the most disadvantaged.
"Treasury modelling and the work done by NATSEM show the impact of the budget is much more significant on low income families. If the Government was required to clearly assess their budget bills against a families test, I don't see how they could have ever come to the Parliament.
"The Government's approach is also failing to meet the credibility test when it comes to evidence from New Zealand, with UNICEF's Children of the Recession report showing child poverty rates in that country have ‘barely changed' over the last five years, while youth unemployment has increased.
"The Government, and Minister Kevin Andrews in particular, have put a focus on New Zealand's approach to welfare, holding a torch for it as an example for Australia to follow.
"A system that has seen a stagnation in child poverty is hardly an example to follow, and I am concerned about the impact that the Government's cuts to family payments, parenting payment indexation and Newstart will have on people across Australia.
"In fact, UNICEF go so far as to reference Australia's payment system in the wake of the GFC and contrast it with New Zealand. It is staggering to think this Government wants to undermine our system by copying New Zealand.
"One again, the evidence is not there to support the Government's cruel budget.
"Our Government needs a broad commitment to combating and reducing poverty, but it is clear that cuts and punishments are their only real motivator," Senator Siewert concluded.