Teenage parents could face losing their welfare payments under a trial scheme announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The teens could lose more than $600 a fortnight if they fail to meet new requirements.
Phoebe Parsons reports.
Under the government’s new “tough love” budget the losses apply only if the teens fail to meet new study and work requirements.
After six months they’ll have to outline their education and work plans with Centerlink, after a year must go back to finish school.
If eligible parents refuse to participate in the scheme without good reason, their welfare benefits will be suspended.
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister: “It’s all about improving the life chances of teen parents and thereby improving the life chances of their children.”
The Federal Government will invest more than $47 million over the four year trial across 10 of Australia’s most welfare dependent areas from January 1.
While the opposition supports the overall initiative, they say a lot more details are needed.
Joe Hockey, Shadow Treasurer: “It’s no use sending mums into an education or workplace obligation if they can’t get childcare and they can’t afford it.”
For the 11,000 teenagers currently receiving parenting payments, there are no requirements to look for work until their youngest child turns six.
The Government says the scheme is not a punishment and is rather aimed at breaking the cycle of welfare dependency.
Phoebe Parsons, QUT News.