Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ second Federal Budget has once again swayed in favour of parents with the Albanese Government winding back a welfare cut Labor helped implement when last in power.
Single parent payment extended
On Monday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed he will raise the cut-off age for the single parenting payment in the 2023 Federal Budget from eight to 14 years.
From 20 September 2023, single parents will no longer have to transfer to JobSeeker when their youngest child turns eight.
These parents will continue to receive the higher support, with a current base rate of $922.10 per fortnight (95% of the Age Pension) until their youngest child turns 14.
This means single parents who are currently on JobSeeker will receive an additional $176.90 per fortnight.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said lifting the age limit will provide additional financial support to at least 57,000 single principal carers, more than 90% of whom are single mothers.
“Single parents carry the world on their backs,” Mr Albanese said.
“This is about giving them the greater security and better support they deserve.
“This change to single parent payments is about making things fairer for parents who are already doing it tough. I know this will make a big and immediate difference for tens of thousands of mums, dads and children right across Australia.”
Mr Chalmers said the Labor Government will always strive to help those who need it the most.
"Over 90% of these parents are single mums; they deserve our respect and support for the incredible job they do," he said.
This change will cost the Federal Government an additional $1.9 billion over four years.
Recipients of the single parenting payment are still required to participate in employment, study or training, and maintain connections with the labour force so they can return to work when their children are older.
Cheaper childcare to commence in July
From July this year, the Government is delivering cheaper child care, cutting the cost of care for around 1.2 million families.
It will make it easier for parents and carers, particularly women, to participate in the workforce and means more children can access the benefits of early education.
Changes to paid parental leave
In the October Budget, the Labor government committed $531.6 million to deliver a more flexible and generous Paid Parental Leave scheme.
From 1 July this year, Parental Leave Pay and Dad and Partner Pay will combine into a single 20‑week payment that can be shared between parents. Either parent will be able to claim Paid Parental Leave first, and single parents will be able to access the full 20 weeks under the scheme.
A new family income test of $350,000 per annum will see nearly 3,000 additional parents become eligible for the entitlement each year.
The Government has committed to increase Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks by 2026.
ParentsNext program to be abolished
The ParentsNext program is an initiative to help parents with young children prepare for employment by participating in vocational and non-vocational activities.
ParentsNext will be replaced by a voluntary program from July 2024 with a more supportive pre-employment program.
"Making ParentsNext voluntary will end the risk to disadvantaged parents of loss of payments and remove undue stress and anxiety from participants, the majority of whom are women and single parents," the Federal Budget stated.
More to come...
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