SINGLE MUMS, FAMILIES AND PENSIONERS ARE TIPPED TO HAVE THEIR WELFARE PAYMENTS SLASHED. THE COURIER-MAIL
TENS of thousands of families, pensioners, single parents and carers will have their welfare payments slashed in a tough-love federal Budget crackdown.
And all single jobless mums and dads will have their payments axed when their youngest child turns eight, to force them back to work.
It means about 100,000 single parents will lose protection that allowed them to keep the payment until their youngest turned 16.
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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott questioned whether the Federal Government would go through with cuts.
“I’m in favour of people working wherever possible,” Mr Abbott said on the Nine Network.
“I think that if you’re fit and young you should work, preferably you should work for a wage, but if not you should work for the dole.
“I will believe it when I see it. This is a Government which often talks tough but rarely delivers.”
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey said the federal government should focus more on cutting the public service rather than targeting welfare recipients.
“They seem to take a baseball bat to everyone out there, but the public service in Canberra has increased by nearly 20,000 since Labor was elected,” he told the Seven Network.
“I want to see them start reducing the size of their own business their own home rather than punishing people out there all the time.”
Labor frontbencher Tony Burke said the measure would tackle inter-generational unemployment.
“It is good policy. It doesn’t just make a difference for them and a difference for the economy, it makes a real difference to avoid situations of inter-generational unemployment,” he said.
“That’s not to say juggling children eight years and above isn’t working flat-out at home.
“There’s a lot of additional work that they’re doing but it is still a better situation if we can encourage them to find a way into the workforce as well.”
People getting Family Tax Benefit A and B are among those being squeezed by the Budget razor gang.
Ministers have decided people receiving welfare should not have an overseas trip subsidised by taxpayers, and the new rules from January 1 will reap tens of millions of dollars.
The Government is expected to argue the cut will ease the pressure to make harsher cuts on spending for low and middle-income families who cannot afford an overseas holiday.
About 25,000 people receiving family tax benefits spend more than six weeks a year overseas.
Depending on their income and the number of children, they can lose as much as $160 a fortnight, though the typical loss might be about $110.
The hit list includes more than 8000 disability support pensioners who will lose $755.50 a fortnight, but those with a severe and permanent disability will be exempt.
Age pensions will not be touched, with ministers deciding that “grey nomads” have paid their taxes and deserve to enjoy their travel. Many pensioners born overseas also go back to their home country.
But pensioners will lose telephone, mobility and utilities allowances, which can be worth up to $160 a quarter, because they are not at home.
The seniors supplement for Commonwealth seniors health card holders will also be cut.
The existing 13-week restriction on overseas travel has been judged excessive and six weeks will be set as enough time for Australians to be overseas and still receive welfare.
It is believed the Budget axe will not hit people caught overseas longer than six weeks because of exceptional circumstances, such as illness.
- with Simon Benson, AAP