Greens propose boost for single parents
Single parents affected by the federal government’s decision to cut their benefits would receive a payment increase and be able to keep more of their earnings under a new Greens proposal.
Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt said cutting single parents’ payments from January 1 had saved the government more money than it had raised so far from the mining tax.
‘‘Labor’s talk of modern families rings hollow for single parents and their children who have been pushed on to the dole and into poverty,’’ Mr Bandt said on Sunday.
The proposal, which has been costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, would cost the government $360 million a year, an amount Mr Bandt said could be covered by toughening up the mining tax.
It would pay a tax free fortnightly supplement of $80 to single parents with a child aged under 16 who are receiving the unemployment payment, Newstart.
Those parents would also be able to earn more income from work before their payments were affected.
The government is saving $728 million over four years as a result of its decision to move about 84,000 people from the higher paying single parent payment to Newstart.
The difference between the payments is about $60 a week.
The change also curtails the amount of work people are able to do because of the different rules governing the single parent and unemployment payments.
The Greens announced last week that its formal alliance with Labor was over with leader Christine Milne saying she had made the decision because the government had given too much ground to resources companies in the formulation of the mining tax.
Mr Bandt maintained the decision was about the mining tax and not because the Greens were trying to reposition themselves ahead of the possible election of a Coalition government.
He also said he was confident of holding his inner city Melbourne electorate in his own right come the September election.
‘‘If we get about a third of the swing we did last time, about five per cent, that’s enough,’’ Mr Bandt said.
Mr Bandt won 37 per cent of the primary vote in 2010 but also received Liberal Party preferences.
He said he was ‘‘not spending a lot of time’’ thinking about preferences ahead of this year’s election.