Beccy to protest parenting cash cuts

AS a single mother struggling to make ends meet for almost a decade, Beccy Walker, of Cook, is used to saying “no.” 

“When my two boys have school excursions, or if they want to play a sport outside of school, I just can’t afford it,” she says.

“It’s humiliating telling a school your kids can’t go to an excursion because you don’t have the money.”

Now with Federal Government cuts to parenting payments, the 42-year-old believes single parents like her will be plunged even deeper into poverty.

Under the entitlement changes, most single parents have been shifted onto the Newstart unemployment allowance when their youngest child turns eight, receiving between $60 to $100 a week less.

“I worked it out and with the cuts, I will be living off $125 a fortnight for food, bills, petrol, school fees and incidentals – even a single person without kids can’t live off that,” says Beccy, who has two sons aged 10 and 12.

On February 5 she will protest with hundreds of other single parents on the lawns at Parliament House, to push for the Government to reverse its decision.

Run by the single parents action group, rallies will be held in all major cities across the nation.

“Everyone hopes they can make a difference, because there is a lot of anger there, a lot of sadness,” Beccy says.

“I do find it rich that a Prime Minister, who has never had kids and couldn’t know the cost of kids, is making these changes.”

Beccy says she was originally employed as a cleaner when her children were younger but had to quit “when it became too expensive to put them in daycare”.

Now she is working casually in a school canteen, but isn’t sure if she has a job to go back to.

“A lot of people say ‘well why can’t these single parents just find a proper job,” she says.

“I say, try finding 100,000 jobs for these single parents, in school hours, with a decent wage that you can live on.

“Employers aren’t the most family friendly, as soon as they find out you’re a single parent, they don’t want to know you, they’re not interested. It makes it hard because if your kids are sick, you’re the one that has to take time off work, you can’t share it with your partner… you need an employer who’s happy for you to have the time off.”

Beccy says people can often forget single-parent families are families, too.

“We didn’t choose to be single parents, sometimes families break down and it’s not our fault or the children’s, but we’re getting persecuted for that,” she says.

“I think the Government should be doing more to support single parents and getting their kids back on track. We’re turning into a have or have not society and it’s heartbreaking to constantly tell my kids they can’t do things other kids can.”

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One Response to “Beccy to protest parenting cash cuts”

  1. Devestated Mother
    January 30, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    It’s heartbreaking to see Julia Gillard push so many already hard working around the clock mums to the brink. Many of us bare 100% 24/7 365 days a week sole financial, emotional and time to our children. We don’t get a break or have holidays or days to our selves. New clothes and luxuries are very rare. I have been faced with losing my job after my child kept getting bad asthma and chest infections resulting in time off school. I cut costs, grocery shop at NQR and Aldi, everything is switched off at the power point to save electricity, Christmas presents have been purchased through out the year from eBay, trash and treasure markets and op shops to ensure there are some well deserved prizes at the end of the year. School uniforms and shoes are always second hand, the car is a necessity for work and school but costs more in repairs than it’s worth. My child has missed out on school excursions because rent was more important. All our money goes just on rent, food, bills, fuel, maintaining the car and medical. I have teeth that need seeing to and am on a waiting list of 18 months, I have my name on public housing of which I was told it could be years before I get a call. My rent for a little 2 bedroom unit has no cooling in stiffing hot summer has just exceeded $300 per week. My hours have been dropped at work, I have applied for at least 80 positions over the past couple of months to only hear back from less than ten of them. I was talked into ups killing and going back to school part time to fit in with my job but I certainly couldn’t afford it now. Ive no family support, can’t work nights or weekends because I can’t leave my child and I also haven’t been successful finding more hours of work. I have eaten noodles and baked beans every day and night this week, saving the fruit, meat and veg for my daughter who is more in need than me. Ive been spending more than I can afford on parking and trains to attend interviews, having to borrow from my neighbor today for tomorrows interview trip. The job network agency has been no help and this whole situation has seen me medicated for stress and anxiety. I’m at a loss of what to do, where to go and who to ask for help. We have also just rang to cancel our Internet connection, another thing my child must deal with as so much of her research and schooling etc needs to be done online. As it stands this will probably be my last online plea for the government to change this agonizing hurtful decision. It’s a shame the rally held on the 5th of feb is a working day because I would have been there in fighting spirit. Unfortunately I need to pay my neighbor back and have a car to register. I feel so hopeless.

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