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Budget 2023: Major Centrelink change for 98,700 Aussie parents

The Centrelink changes will come into effect from July 1 next year.

Centrelink sign and Australian parent with child.
The Centrelink changes will be in next week’s federal budget. (Source: Getty)

The government will scrap a controversial Centrelink parenting program in next week’s federal budget.

The ParentsNext program required parents to negotiate a participation plan and complete education or parenting activities to keep receiving the Parenting Payment. It applied to about 98,700 recipients with children aged nine months to six years, who had not worked for six months.

The scheme will be abolished from July 1, 2024, and compulsory requirements will be immediately paused for participants in the program from today.

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Minister for Women Katy Gallagher said Aussie women had been telling them the program was “punitive, counterproductive and causes harm”.

“We want to make sure that this group of vulnerable Australians gets the support that they need to get ready for work or have other training opportunities. We just don’t believe we need to take their money away in the process,” Gallagher said.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) welcomed the immediate change from the government.

“Sixty per cent of the 230,000 on parenting payment [as a] single have experienced domestic and family violence,” ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said.

“When forced into the ParentsNext program, they were then subject to pointless and intrusive activity requirements for parents with children as young as nine months, enforced by threats of income support payment suspensions.”

The program has been the subject of three parliamentary reviews since it was brought in by the Coalition in 2018. The most recent review recommended it be abolished and replaced by a new service.

Over-55s getting Centrelink boost

Older Aussies receiving JobSeeker will reportedly receive a boost in their payments as part of the federal budget.

The 227,000 JobSeeker recipients aged over 55 who are looking for work are set to benefit from higher payments, according to 7 News. But the change is likely to be modest, with the exact amount still unknown.

ACOSS estimates at least two-thirds of people who are long-term unemployed would not benefit from the reported increase. The group is calling on the government to raise JobSeeker to at least $76 a day. It is currently around $48 a day.

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