Paying price for budget cuts

THE federal government’s decision to reduce welfare payments for single parents will put pressure on Orange’s already stretched charities, according to the Salvation Army.

Changes to the federal budget came into effect on New Year’s Day, including a decision to shift single parents from the single parent payment to the Newstart allowance once their youngest child turned eight, a cut of up to $110 per week.

Salvation Army Captain Greg Saunders said the changes would impact on the services the charity offers to the Orange community.

“I have clients who live off Newstart who, after they’ve paid their rent, the bills, they only have $60 per fortnight to buy groceries,” he said.

“They aren’t single parents who have to pay for children.”

The changes will save the government $728 million over four years.

While parents who started receiving the payment after July 2006 already face these conditions, until now, those receiving the payment before July 2006 were able to keep it until their youngest turned 16.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin said the changes were designed to encourage single parents to get a job and ensure all parenting payment recipients were treated the same.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the average rent in Orange is $230 per week. That would leave anyone on Newstart $16.30 a week for everything else.

Single people can’t share anything, they face all the costs on their own,” he said.

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