Parents Without Partners national president Ron Abel insists Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin is out of touch following her comment that she could live on $35 a day.
Last week, Ms Macklin said she could live on the Newstart allowance of $246 a week after changes to the welfare payment scheme meant a majority of the 84,000 single parents who received parenting payments would be moved to the allowance when their youngest child turned eight.
“Anybody that makes a statement like that is obviously out of touch with reality,” Mr Abel said.
“The reality is they don’t have the money.”
The Waikiki resident, who provides support to more than 30 members of the South Coastal PWP branch in Rockingham, said many members found it difficult to find work and struggled to support their children on welfare.
“One lady got some money off one of the charity organisations, otherwise she wouldn’t have had any money or anything for the kids for Christmas,” Mr Abel said.
Rockingham Salvation Army officer Darrell Wilson said the number of people he met on a daily basis was evidence many people struggled to make ends meet on Newstart.
“The Salvation Army has called for an increase to the Newstart allowance for some time based on the very real experience of hardship and financial stress of people who present at our services,” he said.
“Significant increases in rents, as well as other living expenses such as utilities, fuel, public transport and food, has impacted deeply on the capacity to survive, not to mention to continue focusing on finding employment.”Mr Wilson said he was concerned the Newstart allowance was inadequate for vulnerable people in the community, such as single mothers.