Latest statistics show there are 61,851 single parents in Queensland claiming at least $768.50 a fortnight.
Latest statistics show there are 61,851 single parents in Queensland claiming at least $768.50 a fortnight.

$1 million cost of single-parent hot spot

TOOWOOMBA has emerged as Queensland's single-parent capital, costing taxpayers more than $1 million in welfare payments each fortnight.

It comes as the Morrison Government pledges to help single parents find a job sooner to stop them becoming welfare entrenched.

Latest statistics reveal there are 61,851 single parents in Queensland claiming at least $768.50 a fortnight, Social Services Department data shows.

Toowoomba, large swathes of the Gold Coast and several coastal regional centres recorded high numbers of single parents, mostly women, claiming welfare.

Most are aged 25-34 years, but there are almost 2500 aged 16-20 years receiving single-parenting payments.

Nationally, there are more than 244,000 claiming the payment, which is more than for the Newstart Allowance - the main income support payment for unemployed people aged over 22 years.

Most stay on the single parent payment for between five and 10 years. The average duration for receiving the payments is 194 weeks.

Generally, when their youngest child turns eight, those on parenting payments transition to Newstart because it is viewed that they have a greater capacity to find work.

When they move payments, they have to meet mutual obligation requirements such as studying or applying for jobs, although some recipients of a parenting payment have participation requirements.

A spokesman for Jobs Minister Kelly O'Dwyer said the Government wanted more people to find work.

"The more people we can get off welfare and into work the better. The Government has a range of programs aimed at getting more people into work,'' the spokesman said.

"Already we have seen more than 1.2 million job placements through our Jobactive program since July 2015, but we want to see even more Australians in work."

The Government set up ParentsNext to provide parents with pre-employment support to help them prepare to get a job.

About 96 per cent of ParentsNext are women and, as of December, 81 per cent were single parents.



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