COMMUNITY services are concerned changes to parenting payments will burden their already over-stretched resources.
Bendigo single parents will be moved from the parenting payment to Newstart allowance when their youngest child turns eight, leaving some up to $110 a week worse off.
Previously those who were receiving the parenting payment before July 2006 were able to keep it until their youngest turned 16.
Parents who started receiving the payment after July 2006 already faced these conditions.
The changes have sparked concerns from community organisations that say single parents who are already struggling financially will be under even more pressure to make ends meet.
Kangaroo Flat Community House co-ordinator Elaine McNamara said she was concerned for the single-parent families in her area.
“It’s going to put hardships not only on parents but entire areas where there are a lot of children,” she said.
Ms McNamara was concerned it would force single parents back into work leaving them unable to look after their children.
She said it was hard for single parents to find a job that fitted around children’s needs.
“It’ll make it very difficult (because) what jobs will allow parents to be out when their children come home from school?
“It’s going to cause the likes of community houses to run after school programs, but we don’t get extra money to do that.”
Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the change was about ensuring all parenting payments were equal.
“It’s about one rule for all,” she said. But Ms Chesters agreed with Ms McNamara that finding family-friendly jobs for single parents was difficult.
“A real issue is that in a lot of jobs there is not genuine flexibility to support single parents, which allows them to be there for their child.
“It’s a real issue and what we need is for employers to meet workers half-way.”