From 1 April 2016, parents of young children who are receiving the Centrelink Parenting Payment will be forced to participate in ParentsNext, a new government program designed to push single parents with young children into the workforce.
Currently, single parents receiving Parenting Payment don’t have to participate in employment programs until their youngest child turns five, when they are transferred to the lower paid Newstart benefit. With the introduction of ParentsNext, single parents receiving Parenting Payment in 10 Local Government Areas will be required to attend appointments, sign a Participation Plan and participate in activities preparing them for work, or have their Parenting Payment suspended.
Announcing the ParentsNext Project yesterday, Minister for Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash, said “ParentsNext will assist parents with young children prepare for future employment by enabling them to be in a better position to enter the workforce by the time their children start school.”
“Providers will work with parents of young children to identify their education and employment goals and help them access support services such as TAFE, secondary schools, training providers and employment services.”
- New South Wales: Bankstown; Wyong; and Shellharbour.
- Victoria: Greater Shepparton; and Hume
- Queensland: Logan; and Rockhampton
- South Australia: Playford
- Western Australia: Kwinana
- Tasmania: Burnie
Everyone receiving Parenting Payment who is living in one of 10 these local government areas, will be required to participate in the $40 million program. However, childcare will not be provided. Single parents will have to find their own childcare and will receive assistance with childcare fees from the Department of Human Services.
Minister Cash said the program is designed to target parents at risk of long-term unemployment and welfare dependency. However, she did concede that combining the task of raising young children with participation in a getting ready to work program “can be a challenge” for single parents.
For more information visit the website: www.employment.gov.au/parentsnext