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A brothel in Brisbane says it has received around 20 applications from single mothers to work since 84,000 single parents' payments were cut by the government.

The change equates to between a $60 - $100 loss for parents. Instead of receiving parenting payments, they now receive Newstart - the unemployment benefit - when their youngest child turns eight years old.

The changes prompted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to say the best form of welfare is work, while hoping reports of single mothers turning to prostitution weren't true.

Mr Abbott said reports more mothers were turning to prostitution were "fairly lurid".

"And I certainly would hope that there's nothing in them," he said.

"I understand the concerns people have here particularly given the government's winding back of employment services.

"But on the fundamental principle, I want to make this very clear, the best form of welfare is work."