The Greens want to see the ParentNext program suspended and the Government reassess their approach if they really care about supporting parents. Their comments come in the wake of reports that one in five parents, the majority of whom are women have been suspended or lost their payment in just the first six months of the rollout of the program.
“The latest figures showing the high number of parents and of course their children that have been suspended from payments is deeply concerning and should send a signal to Government that this program has very serious problems.
“In what world does a Government think that it is acceptable that mothers and their children are denied access to essential income and are then forced to rely on food relief?” Senator Rachel Siewert asked.
“Poverty in early childhood leads to poorer outcomes. Cutting parents’ payments means they can’t afford food and they can’t pay their bills.
“This has lifelong impacts for children growing up in poverty, on their health and developmental vulnerability.
“This program impacts on First Nations mothers the most and is contrary to the closing the gap objectives.
“This should not be happening in a society as wealthy as our own.
“This program deliberately targets single mothers and this is unacceptable.
“I tried to stop the rollout of this punitive program last year but unfortunately this was not supported by Labor and the crossbench.
“Since then, more and more women have come forward with negative experiences of this program.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180