2 November 2022, Guardian Australia, Luke Henriques-Gomes. Access the full article here.

One woman’s payments were suspended for not attending a compulsory activity while her son was in hospital, peak body says

The Albanese government’s failure to wind up the controversial ParentsNext program is not consistent with its commitment to gender equity, women’s advocates argue.

In submissions to a parliamentary inquiry investigating the employment services system, several key women’s and domestic violence groups called for the $110m-a-year pre-employment program to be made voluntary or scrapped entirely.

ParentsNext requires some people on parenting payments with children as young as nine months to attend an outsourced job agency for careers guidance and support. They can have their payments suspended if they do not attend compulsory activities, which range from vocational education to playgroups or storytime. The majority of participants are single mothers.

I get regular messages, emails and phone calls on ParentsNext… By the time a participant has located me, they are already in absolute trauma over the program

– Terese Edwards, CEO of Single Mother Families Australia

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.

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