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Double whammy to hit low income parents.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA DOUBLE WHAMMY TO HIT LOW INCOME PARENTS Low income working parents who are raising children alone will have their child support payments cut if the Government implements proposed child support reforms. Australian Democrats Family and Community Services spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig, says the reforms included in the report "In the Best Interests of Children" recommend low income single parents who earn less than $40,000 a year have their child support payments cut. The chair of the Reform Task Force, Professor Patrick Parkinson agrees with the child support reductions but says it is justified because it would provide an incentive for highly qualified mothers to work more. "This is an outrageous outcome. Many disadvantaged custodial parents already work full time to support their children, but earn less than $40,000 per annum in low paid jobs. There is often no opportunity for them to work more or earn more, yet they will now have their child support reduced by more than $1,000 a year," Senator Greig said. Senator Greig says, to make matters worse, these parents will be amongst those who will also lose out through planned welfare reforms. "Many of these will lose parenting payments after 1 July if their youngest child turns six. They will not qualify for enhanced Newstart because of the stricter income test, and will lose essential income support," Senator Greig said. "It simply does not make sense to hit low income separated parents twice as this Government intends to do, and it is certainly not in the best interest of children to do so," Senator Greig said. "The Australian Democrats welcome changes to Child Support providing they do not disadvantage children. We believe that children should not be forced to go without food, accommodation, clothing or health care just because they fall between the cracks of a flawed formula. "When the Government takes control of both houses of Parliament from 1 July this year, there will be very little that the Democrats can do to stop this attack on low income Australian families," Senator Greig said. In answer to Senator Greig's questions on this issue today, Minister Kay Patterson said she did not want to respond to individual parts of the report. Media Contact - Di Graham - 02) 6277 3338 or 0417 177 523 SENATOR BRIAN GREIG

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES SPOKESPERSON

05/339 TUESDAY 21 JUNE 2005