The Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF) supports calls for the Federal Government to reinstate the single-parenting payment for parents with children aged up to 16, recognising the significant impact this would have on reducing the number of families living in poverty.

As noted by the Women’s Economic Equality Task Force, reinstating the payment for women with children over eight is an urgent and targeted action which would be a smart investment in women’s economic equality in Australia. Building on previous advocacy for women escaping domestic and family violence, the Foundation is supportive of the Task Force’s approach.

PRF CEO Professor Kristy Muir said recently published research by PRF Fellow Anne Summers AO highlighted the dire need for greater support for single parents, the majority of which are women.

“We now know that 60 per cent of all single mothers in Australia are parenting alone after leaving violent relationships, and that making ends meet is a constant battle,” Professor Muir said.

“Although 60 per cent of the women who left their partners are employed, their earnings are insufficient to support their families.

“Half of them rely on government payments as their main source of income, but this is not enough – with many struggling to pay their bills, heat their homes or register their cars. These costs do not disappear when children turn eight or twelve.

“Single mothers around Australia are going without meals to ensure their children have food in their bellies and a safe roof over their heads. We need to back them, both in the early stages of their child’s life and in the teenage years when children are in an incredibly difficult transition phase and need a safe and financially secure home environment.”

Dr Summers said reinstating the single-parenting payment for parents with children aged to 16 was critical for a government genuinely committed to investing in women’s economic equality.

“The misguided policy step stripping back the single-parenting payment to parents with children under eight has made a difficult decision even harder for too many Australian women – stay in a violent relationship, or leave and likely face a life in poverty.

“We are condemning far too many women to life on the edge of a financial cliff if they are brave enough to leave.

“It’s time to properly address the mistakes that have been made, the poverty and disadvantage that this policy has created, and reinstate the single parenting payment for parents with children aged to 16.”