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Number of families hit by welfare cuts grows by the day.



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Media Release

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

Friday 12 August, 2005

NUMBER OF FAMILIES HIT BY WELFARE CUTS GROWS BY THE DAY

Just a day after the Howard Government released figures on the number of sole parents who will lose under their extreme welfare changes, they have already increased their estimate.

Answering a question on notice from Shadow Employment Minister, Senator Penny Wong, the Howard Government said 86,200 sole parents would lose under the extreme changes, by being moved from their current Single Parent Payment to the dole. This was worse than expected.

But according to media reports, the Howard Government has already junked that estimate, now revealing that 90,000 parents - and their children - face cuts.

"Cutting the budget of vulnerable families is an extreme and irresponsible approach that won't help parents get jobs. But the Howard Government is so incompetent that they don't even know how many people they're hurting," Senator Wong said.

"The Howard Government won't reveal how many children will grow up worse-off because of its extreme cuts to family budgets, without offering parents a real chance to get the skills they need for work.

"But based on the Government's incompetent figures at least twice as many people will be hurt than helped under these extreme changes.

"The Howard Government has still not revealed how many people with disabilities will lose out, and refuses to reveal how much Treasury coffers will gain from these extreme cuts.

"No wonder the Government has been hiding these figures since the Budget, and is continuing to hide the impact on people with disabilities. They are proof of how out of touch the Howard Government is.

"These figures come on top of news that around 50,000 parents of children with severe disabilities will be forced to work rather than care for their children.

"The full extent of the Howard Government's incompetence is yet to be revealed. But we do know that after nine long years they still haven't come up with a sensible plan to move people from welfare into work."

For further information: • John Olenich - 02 6277 5789 / 0408 841 850