18 January 2023, Guardian Australia, Stephanie Convery. Access the full article here.
Committee hears ParentNext program is ‘punitive and prescriptive’, with threats of payment suspensions ‘significantly detrimental’ for families
The chair of a parliamentary inquiry into the controversial A "pre employment" program targeting single parents with children under the age ... program has described the suggestion that in some cases single parents may be required to check in with the agency daily or risk having their welfare payments suspended as “bonkers”.
The Labor MP Julian Hill was questioning representatives of the National Employment Services Association (Nesa) and Jobs Australia, the peak bodies for commercial and not-for-profit companies that facilitate Australia’s billion-dollar outsourced welfare-to-work system, Workforce Australia.
As part of the parliament’s House select committee inquiry into Workforce Australia, Wednesday’s hearing examined the $110m-a-year ParentsNext program, a compulsory course for around 80,000 parenting payment recipients who are forced to attend appointments and complete activities, including storytime and playgroup sessions, that are supposed to help them with parenting and to return to work.
Employment services survey
The Punishment for Profit report is based on hundreds of responses to surveys conducted by the Antipoverty Centre. This research is ongoing. If you are in Workforce Australia, Disability Employment Services or a similar program, we welcome any information you are able to share about your experiences.