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Back off parents of children with a disability.

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Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance

Thursday 11 August, 2005


The Howard Government must immediately back down from its extreme changes to welfare which will force many parents who care for children with severe disabilities into work, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

A new analysis by the National Welfare Rights Network shows that up to 50,000 sole parents who care for children with severe disabilities will have to look for work regardless of the needs of their children, and in future, parents will be pushed on to the dole, leaving them $11,500 poorer.

"This cold-hearted attack on vulnerable families shows how extreme the Howard Government's welfare changes are," Senator Wong said.

"The Howard Government is completely out of touch with parents who struggle against the odds to provide constant care for their children who have a disability.

"Of all the ways to save money, this has to be one of the most cruel and extreme.

"Children who have disabilities such as cystic fibrosis and uncontrolled epilepsy need constant care. But who will care for these children while their parents look for 'real' work.

"These families have enough on their plate without having to satisfy the Howard Government's extreme ideological cravings.

"After nine long years of talk about welfare reform, all the Howard Government has come up with are extreme changes that hurt people who need help."

Senator Wong also noted speculation that Senator Joyce may be considering blocking the bill.

For further information: John Olenich - 0408 841 850