Single parents hurting, says Bendigo mother

FEDERAL Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons says his own party need to increase Newstart payments to make up for cuts to single-parenting payments. 

Mr Gibbons met with a number of single mothers in Bendigo this morning to hear how the changes have put them on the brink of losing their homes.

The federal government introduced tighter restrictions to payments on January 1, forcing parents off their pension and on to the Newstart allowance once their youngest child turns eight.

He said the motivation behind the changes were to get people back to work but said it had been delivered in a "brutal method".

"It needs to be challenged, and needs to be addressed," he said.

Single mother Andie Downing said the changes meant she was no longer able to afford rent and would be forced onto the public housing waiting list.

Ms Downing said a lot of parents had been hurting as a result of the changes.

"It's not just the cuts, it's losing other benefits and health cards. People are doing it tough," she said.

Mr Gibbons said he would raise the issue to the federal caucus to try and to improve the rate of Newstart.

Read more in tomorrow's Bendigo Advertiser.

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