30 August 2021
Labor has significant concerns that ParentsNext, in its current form, is unfair, ineffective, and causing harm to parents and children.
Currently, participation in the program is mandatory for Parenting Payment recipients with children under six, if they meet certain criteria. The program fails to improve the lives of families or even get more people into work.
Labor will always put the interests of families and children first. That is why we moved to make ParentsNext voluntary for parents with children under six. Unfortunately, we did not have the votes in the Senate to be successful.
Instead of helping parents prepare for work the Morrison Government has already introduced punitive ParentsNext participation requirements. As a result, one in three families in ParentsNext have had their payments suspended, losing up to a week of income. Over 1,000 participants had their payments cancelled completely. Fewer parents in the program are transitioning into secure well-paid work.
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights which includes members of the Morrison Government has called out the proposed changes to ParentsNext as a risk to the human rights of its participants and their children. Making ParentsNext mandatory for parents with young children will mean some parents will be unable to meet the basic caring needs of children.
The Government has chosen to ignore these findings, instead opting to make ParentsNext compulsory for thousands of families on income support with the support of One Nation.
Labor fought these changes and is calling for a fairer approach with a focus on supporting families and linking parents to secure well-paid jobs.