Many Single Mothers In Australia Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet—What Options Do They Have?

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Households across Australia are feeling the pressure of rising expenses, and single parents are struggling to keep up.

Mary had to adapt to being a single parent and managing the family budget after her 20-year marriage ended in divorce.

If you looked at my life from the outside, you’ll go, ‘nice house, nice job,” In her 50s, she secured a small home on the outskirts of the city. 

From the outside, look like I’ve got it all together. But really, I don’t,” the mother of a teenager said.

The June release of ABS census data showed that the number of lone-parent households has increased since 2016. In Australia, there are around 1 million individuals who are single-handedly supporting a dependent. Out of that number, four out of five are women.

Approximately 300,000 single mothers, who make up one-third of all single-parent households, are living in or near poverty, according to Terese Edwards, CEO of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC).

In the last ten years, about 30 per cent of single mums have lived in poverty, and we haven’t switched the dial,” she said.

“There’s a lot of different forces that come together in a sole-parent family, and they’re not very kind at the moment,” she added.

What Help Is Available For Single Parents?

The National Debt Helpline offers free, independent, confidential financial advice. Using our Live Chat service, you can also anonymously chat with a financial counsellor.

Although government help is readily available, the type of assistance differs among states and territories. The best way to see nearby services is to check your local government websites.

The Council of Single Mothers and their Children is a service that helps single mothers in Victoria.

Parents can save money on childcare starting next July, as the government has promised to make it more affordable for over a million families by increasing subsidy rates. If you are a victim of family violence, you may also be eligible for additional financial assistance and grants.

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