Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Helping families get ready for work in Broadmeadows

Joint Media Release with:

  • Maria Vamvakinou MP, member for Calwell

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today visited UnitingCare in Broadmeadows to speak to parents about the Gillard Government’s new participation requirements for jobless families.

Under the program, which begins this week, unemployed parents with young children in the Hume area will have new participation requirements and support services to help them prepare for work and make sure their children are ready for school.

“I don’t think it’s acceptable or fair for children to grow up in a household where no-one has ever worked,” Ms Macklin said.

“This program will help parents to build a better future for themselves and their children. It provides new support and opportunities as well as responsibilities for parents in Hume.”

Under the program, around 3,400 parents of children aged under six years in Hume who have been on income support for two years or more, or who are under 23 years of age and are not currently working or studying full time will now be required to meet regularly with Centrelink to plan for their return to work.

At these interviews, specially trained staff will help parents get ready for work by setting employment goals, and connecting them with local employment, child care and early childhood services, as well as training opportunities.

Ms Macklin said this new approach aimed to engage parents early to get them job ready.

“Currently, parents on income support don’t have any participation requirements until their child is six – which means that they can be out of the workforce for some time.

“We want parents with young children to be undertaking study, training or improving their parenting skills to make sure when their child is old enough they are ready to get a good job and their children are ready to start school,” Ms Macklin said.

This builds on the Government’s new requirements for teenage parents that started in Hume on 1 January this year.

Under this program, 90 teenage parents in Hume every year are now required to undertake compulsory activities to help them finish their education.

If jobless families and teenage parents do not meet their requirements, their income support payments can be suspended.

Both these programs are part of the Government’s $118 million commitment over four years to provide more intensive support to help young and jobless parents living in 10 disadvantaged communities across Australia, including in Hume.

Families in Hume will receive extra parenting and early childhood support with $1.38 million over three years for UnitingCare Broadmeadows, as well as extra childcare assistance, training and employment services.

These 10 communities have been selected because of the high rate of entrenched disadvantage, including unemployment, skills gap and long-term dependence on income support.

Hume’s unemployment rate is 10 per cent, compared to 5.1 per cent nationally,17.7 per cent of people receive an income support payment, compared with 12.4 per cent nationally, and 64.8 per cent have been on income support for more than a year.

The Member for Calwell, Maria Vamvakinou, said the extra support would help ensure families in Broadmeadows get the help they need to get a job.

“The Gillard Government recognises that some communities are missing out on the benefits of the growing economy,” Ms Vamvakinou said.

“We want all Australians to have the opportunity to share in our nation’s prosperity.”