“Labour is promoting
welfare as a lifestyle option and will harm kids in
benefit-dependent households,” says ACT’s Employment
Spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“Many couples wait to
start families in order to ensure they can afford to feed,
clothe, house and support their children. Those couples who
wait and plan are being forced to subsidise those whose
lifestyle is dependent on welfare.

“If we are to
reduce child poverty, we need to encourage beneficiaries to
work and support their families. Welfare should be a hand up
for those in genuine need, not a lifestyle
choice.

“Last year, more than 6,000 children were
added to an existing benefit. Treasury research shows
children born onto a benefit stay there longest and are more
likely to experience abuse, neglect, material hardship,
poorer health and educational outcomes, and contact with the
justice system.

“The last government introduced a
requirement to return to part-time work when the youngest
child turned five (later reduced to three). In the dying
days of its term, Labour is doing away with this
law.

“ACT is deeply concerned about the prospects of
children born into homes that are already welfare
dependent.

“ACT would support parents who have
additional children while receiving a main benefit with
electronic income management, which has been trialled
successfully in Australia.

“With electronic income
management, rent and utilities are paid directly, and a
large part of the remaining benefit is loaded onto a card
which restricts spending on alcohol, gambling and tobacco. A
small amount of discretionary cash is left.

“This
would see children with a secure roof over their heads, warm
homes, food in their stomachs, and harmful spending by
parents reduced. Electronic income management has been shown
to improve child wellbeing by increasing spending on
children.

“Work and Income already has the
technology to do this for Youth and Young Parent
beneficiaries.

“Having more children on welfare
cannot simply be ignored. Labour says this is ‘putting
children first’ but it is actually doing the
opposite.”

© Scoop Media

 



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