Shayne Cawthray
Shayne Cawthray

Crackdown raises concern

WELFARE groups in Toowoomba have concerns about the government's budgeted plans to crack down on social security payments.

The budget outlines plans to break the welfare cycle with a focus on the long-term and young unemployed, teenage parents and young disability support pensioners.

Those groups of welfare recipients will have to meet new strict work and training requirements or risk having their payments cut.

“Everyone would like to see people who are capable in paid employment — that goes without saying,” Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland general manager Derek Tuffield said. “The challenge lies in getting the right fit.”

Mr Tuffield was buoyed by additional funds that would continue to support regional flood victims over the next four years.

“We have seen a surge again (in flood victims),” he said.

“It is really good that the government acknowledges that people will still need help over the next four years.”

Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor Shayne Cawthray said the budget would hurt sole parents and young people on welfare payments.

Single parents who were granted payments before 2006 will have their payments cut by $112 a fortnight.

Those recipients will be moved on to the lower NewStart Allowance when their child turns 12, instead of 16 under the old arrangements.

“Some unemployed 21-year-olds on Youth Allowance will be moved off of Newstart and on to the Youth Allowance payment — a drop of $86 a fortnight. A recent survey has shown that nearly 50 per cent of those seeking assistance are sole parents and numbers are increasing,” he said.

“It can be extremely difficult for single parents to make ends meet financially, let alone look for and find work that fits with their parenting responsibilities.”

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