The Greens welcome the abolition of ParentsNext and congratulate all the advocates and parents who have won this hard-fought battle.
The Greens have been calling on the federal government to abolish ParentsNext for years, and while this is a positive step, Labor has flagged a new co-designed program set to replace ParentsNext. The devil will be in the details, and the Greens call on Labor to commit to a transparent co-design process.
Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for Social Services, said:
“The co-design process must be transparent and lead by affected parents.
“Though a welcome announcement, it’s yet another example of Labor tinkering around the edges ahead of a budget that will likely do nothing for the vast majority of people on Centrelink payments or single parents.
“Mutual obligations are punitive and coercive for everyone on income support, not only parents with kids under 6. Jobseeker and all Centrelink payments are woefully inadequate, not just for people on Jobseeker that are over 55.
“No one deserves poverty. That’s true whether you’re 20 or 60, a parent or childless, a renter or student or living with a disability. No one.
“Labor is spending $368 billion on nuclear submarines and $254 billion on tax cuts for the rich.
“Budgets are about choices. Instead of doubling down on leaving people without heating or food or medicines as they struggle to pay the rent, Labor can choose differently.
“Labor must axe the Stage 3 tax cuts, end punitive mutual obligations, and raise all Centrelink payments above the poverty line.”
Senator Larissa Waters, Greens leader in the Senate and spokesperson on Women, said:
“Around 95 per cent of ParentsNext participants are women, and this program has been allowed to punish and stigmatise them since its introduction in 2018 - which the Greens tried to disallow at the time.
“Rather than supporting women to get back to work, ParentsNext often meant women had to skip paid work, endure stress and stigma, and were left unable to feed their kids when their payments were cut. It should never have been approved and we’re glad to see the back of it.
“The Government must now deliver on all of the recommendations of its Women’s Economic Equality Taskforce, including restoring support to single parents until their youngest turns 16.
“The upcoming budget must fully reverse the Gillard government’s shameful decision to cut off Parenting Payment Single when kids turn 8, not tinker around the edges with a lift to 13 or 14.
“Budget savings should never have been made by pushing people into poverty. If Labor are serious about taking a gendered lens to this budget, they could start by scrapping the Stage 3 tax cuts, which mostly benefit rich men, so we could fund things that will actually help the people who need it.