Picnic against welfare cuts

City to host the only country event

TAKE A STAND: Maarit Hahkomaa hopes the community will turn out in force tomorrow to protest Federal Government welfare changes. PHOTO: Cheryl Browne

A PICNIC in Apex Park tomorrow is expected to be the only regional event in a nation-wide protest against Federal Government welfare changes.

The Picnic Against Poverty has been organised in response to changes introduced in January which are already having an effect on local families.

Single parents whose youngest child has turned eight (the previous threshold was 16) have been shifted from parenting payments to the Newstart allowance, leaving them at least $110 a week worse off.

And through tomorrow’s event, planned by the Single Parents Network for North East Victoria, locals are being urged to lobby for a practical solution to what is a dire financial situation for many in the area.

Local single mother Maarit Hahkomaa said the picnic, running from 11.30am to 2pm, aimed to encourage the community to “return to their grassroots networks and help each other”.

“It’s not just about lobbying the government, it’s about getting back to that level of community,” she said.

She said the event had attracted strong support from community groups as well as individuals keen to come along and add their voice to the protest.

“That’s what it’s all about, because it’s not just an issue for single parents,” she said.

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