Changes to payments a 'difficult situation'

PARKES Federal MP Mark Coulton says the government's plan to scrap single parent pensions would put many local families in a "difficult situation".

The change placed thousands of single parents onto the Newstart allowance of $35 a day when their youngest child turns eight.

The federal government made the payment change, which began on January 1, in order to save $728 million over four years.

Mr Coulton believed the idea behind the government making the change was to get more people in the workforce.

"I think it is going to be very tough for some people but also I think it is important that as many people as possible are in the workforce," he said.

"I think it is hard to generalise how some people will find it."

But Mr Coulton was optimistic about single parents in Dubbo who might be affected by the change and needed work.

"I was walking around the streets before Christmas and there were quite a few positions vacant in shop windows," he said.

The payment change, Mr Coulton said, would be tough for single parents living with their families in communities where there aren't many employment opportunities.

"They will still be able to get payments for their children that will help out," he said.

"I think it is a difficult situation but for the benefit of the country and people it is desirable for people to work."

Mr Coulton said the payment change should be monitored.

"I think there will be a close watch to see what happens," he said.

The federal government has suffered criticism for the change that will leave some single parents that have no income with over $100 less a week.

But the greatest impact will be felt by parents that work part time as parenting payment recipients are allowed to earn more than people on the Newstart allowance do before their payment is affected.

Single parents that earn $400 a week could see the payment change cost them over $200 a week.

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