I don’t often praise the Gillard government, but today’s revelation that the Gillard Government is planning on reducing the period upon which a single parent may receive parenting payment is a step in the right direction. Presently, a single parent receiving parenting payment – single is entitled to the payment until their youngest child turns 16. Along with the payment, single parents are given a pensioner concession card. The Gillard government will reduce that age to 8.
The changes will work well with the government’s existing requirement for single parents to participate in work or study, up to 15 hours per week from the time their child turns 6. This will allow parents to gain valuable skills and experience prior to being shifted to the dole, which will improve their ability to find work.
What the initiative doesn’t address are the small minority of parents who continue to have children in order to stay on the payment. There are a number of single parents which have 5 or 6 children and see it as ”insurance” against getting a job. These parents should be required to undertake some form of approved activity after they have a certain number of children in order to retain their benefits, particularly if the children are to multiple or unknown parents.