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Child Poverty - Why?

Australia can and must do better for children

NCSMC Media Release | 20 September 2011

Today some Australians will wake up to a much anticipated and required increase in their pension. But for others it is a stark reminder that we are not all treated equally and our kids are some of the biggest losers.

The National Council of Single Mothers and their Children states that the last time child poverty was a national issue was in the 1980`s with the then Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawk. The focus and response had an immediate impact of reducing child poverty but the many gains have been eroded or lost over the years.

Most notably is the government’s decision to continue to move single parent families to an allowance which was unheard of until July 2006. These families will now try and survive on $263 per week. Contrast this to single aged pension of $374.40 per week.

Recent figures from the ABS state that Newstart claimants are at breaking point, with 79% reporting three or more indicators of financial stress and they are closely followed by people on Parenting Payments (77%). Small, but expected treats like having friends or family over for a meal once a month is not an option whilst severe child poverty means:

  • An inability to purchase nutritious food; 6% of one parent families with dependent children went without meals.
  • Inability to purchase prescribed and pharmacy medicines and;
  • a loss of utilities - 34% of sole parent families with dependent children were unable to pay utility bills on time. Sole parent families do not receive the Utility Allowance which is available for the single aged pension.

Terese Edwards, CEO states that child poverty and financial hardship should not be part of any childhood and certainly not a forgone conclusion. As Australia prepares of the Tax Forum it is our expectation that the needs of Australian children will rate the highest priority

National Council of Single Mothers and their Children

Eliminate and respond to violence, hardship and inequality for single mothers and their children

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.