Lucy Timu learned she had been placed on the compulsory employment
scheme when she was five months’ pregnant.
Currently the subject of a Senate inquiry, ParentsNext is a compulsory pre-employment program for about 73,000 people who receive parenting payment. They must have children between the age of six months and five and be classified as “disadvantaged” by Centrelink.
Since it was rolled out nationally in July, ParentsNext providers and Centrelink have granted around 14,000 temporary exemptions from the program for reasons such as a pregnancy, medical incapacity or family violence.
As Timu has found out, the process to be spared from the program’s “mutual obligations” is not always easy.