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National's proposed welfare policy

Media Release 22nd August 2008
Rebecca Occleston
Beneficiary Advisory Service (BAS)

National has recently released their proposed welfare policy that people on the DPB who’s youngest child is 6 or more have to find work for 15 hours/week. This is not just impractical but offensive: they have work! Parenting is a full-time job; it is 7 days/week with (generally) no sick days or holidays. Parenting is a 24 hour/day job. If all your children are in school for 6 hours/day and sleeping for say 10 hours/night this means the parenting work is approximately 8 hours/day on weekdays (and more on weekends). Parents are always on call and children can be sick or need you anytime of the day or night.

The focus should be on the support people should have not “you must work”. BAS advocates for a society that supports single parents. Parents, especially single parents, should have access to adequate support structures; we need to recognise how difficult it is to be a single parent. These issues have to be dealt with and funded rather than unnecessary tax breaks. If we as a society neglect the impoverished & excluded then there will be problems down the line: social and economic. Childcare facilities, nutritional food and a working hospital system are just some of the investment needed for these people and society as a whole.

If we as a community wish to avoid or reduce social problems then beneficiaries need to be operating members of our society: included not marginalised.

I believe most people would be prepared to pay tax or more tax if they know there is a health service, education and people at the bottom of the pile are being cared for by a supportive society.

Most people on Benefits do not wish to be, and would rather be in work. Saying people must work is not helpful, especially if there are no jobs for them. Giving people the support they need for when they are ready to go back to work is a much better system. Remember that 63% of people on the DPB have been receiving that benefit for four years or less with approximately 30% of DPB recipients on it for one year or less and 60% of recipients are caring for child/ren 6 years or under.

What could be more important than raising children?

One might also want to remember parents of pre-schoolers work 10-14 (or more) hours/day 7 days/week for at least 5 years. Don’t they deserve a bit of a rest?


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