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Kevin Andrews: sole parents should work for $3:88 an hour.



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Media Release

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

Friday 26 August 2005

KEVIN ANDREWS: SOLE PARENTS SHOULD WORK FOR $3.88 AN HOUR

The absolute incompetence of the Howard Government’s welfare changes have been exposed in a new report on the financial impact for sole parents, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

If a sole parent with one child does the right thing, and works fifteen hours a week*, they will only keep $81 of their earnings, while John Howard takes the other $114.

That makes such a parent $91 per week worse off by moving into work under these changes than if they moved into work under current arrangements.

The Howard Government is effectively asking sole parents to work for $5.40 an hour. But in a press statement, Minister Andrews said that any work is better than no work - even if parents were only paid $3.88 an hour by working 15 hours a week for a $58.18 gain.

“Under these incompetent changes, there will actually be far less reason for sole parents to move into work than there is now,” Senator Wong said.

“The Howard Government promised a package that would move people form welfare to work. But what they have delivered are extreme and unaffordable cuts that make it harder and less financially attractive to move from welfare to work.

“65% of what many sole parents earn will be taken back by this out of touch Government.

“Minister Andrews should explain why he thinks families benefit when parents work for $3 an hour. Would anyone believe that the Minister would be prepared to work for $3 an hour while raising children on his own?

“The evidence shows that people are more likely to move from welfare to work if they are given the right help and financial incentives.

Senator Wong urged the Government to adopt Labor’s Welfare to Work Tax Bonus, which makes work worthwhile by increasing the tax-free threshold to $10,000 for people earning under $20,000.

*NATSEM figures assuming minimum wage of $13 per hour.

For further information: • John Olenich - 0408 841 850