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Single mum backs work plan

By MEL MARTIN

FOR single mother of three Robin Addison, asking mothers to go back to work when their children turn six makes a lot of sense, if they have a support network.

"Once kids go to school, people have more time on their hands," Ms Addison said.

"I think it's fair enough to ask mothers to get some work, even if it's just one day a week."

But she acknowledges that for people without a support network it could be difficult.

"If you have no support and your children get sick, your boss can get angry," she said.

"Especially some children's illnesses can last for three weeks, or each of your kids can get the flu one after the other. I'm lucky I can ask my mother to help."

Ms Addison returned to work when her youngest was under three, but says she is lucky to work hours that suit her lifestyle.

"You can't always pick your own hours, but work in hospitality or as cleaner often finishes by early afternoon. If you want a job I think you can find it."

Under Budget measures unveiled by Treasurer Peter Costello, those on parenting payments will be forced to look for at least 15 hours work a week when their youngest child turns six from July 2006.

This doesn't apply to those al- ready on the parenting payments, but new applicants will be moved to the lower Newstart Allowance once their child turns six.

To ease the transition, the Government announced the creation of an extra 84,300 before and after-school care places, 2500 extra family day care places, 1000 extra in-home care places, and financial assistance for parents moving from welfare to work.

People applying for disability pensions for the first time will not be eligible if they are capable of working more than 15 hours per week at award wage.

Jobseekers on unemployment benefits who do not look for work or do not turn up for work for the dole will have their welfare benefits suspended.

On the other hand, the rate at which the dole is withdrawn will be reduced from 70 to 60 cents in the dollar, and will only begin to be withdrawn when the person earns more than $250 per fortnight.

Family tax benefits threshold will also be be increased so recipients can earn $37,000 before losing the maximum payment.

The social security changes are aimed at moving 190,000 people off welfare and into the workforce by 2008. The Government will spend more than $2 billion over four years on education and training programs to help people get off welfare benefits.



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