Cuts to single parent payments lead to hardshipby Gerry GeorgatosApril 2nd, 2013There are 630,000 Australian lone parent families with dependents – 84 per cent single mothers and 16 per cent single fathers. 54 per cent of these single parents have a youngest child less than nine years of age.Of the parents with a child less than 9 years of age 59 per cent were in some form of employment end of June 2011 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011. But by the time the youngest child reached 15 years of age the employability circumstances of the parent rose – with 73 per cent of lone parents with the youngest child at least 15 years of age in some form of employment as of end June 2011. It is inevitable that people given the opportunity will seek employment without the Government prematurely pushing them into looking for work.On January 1 Federal Minister for Families, Jenny Macklin announced that 80,000 lone parent families with dependents would be affected with payment reductions and many moved on to Newstart payments and forced to look for work – the Newstart payments would be less than the Parenting payments. The Government continues to defend its decision but peak advocacy groups have condemned the decision. Condemnations have also come from the United Nations.