Funding cut threat to triplet families

LOWER-income families with triplets will face financial hardship if the government dumps financial support for multiple-birth parents, a south-west support group says. 

Mothers of twins (back, left) Jess Cashill, with daughters Amelia, 3, and four-year-olds Georgia and Charlie Rowbottom, Melissa Caine and six-month-old daughters Sibylla and Lilah and big sister Maeve, 4, and Kylie Storr with her twins Nathan and Hayley, 3, say parents of triplets or larger multiple-birth families need more government support — not less.

Mothers of twins (back, left) Jess Cashill, with daughters Amelia, 3, and four-year-olds Georgia and Charlie Rowbottom, Melissa Caine and six-month-old daughters Sibylla and Lilah and big sister Maeve, 4, and Kylie Storr with her twins Nathan and Hayley, 3, say parents of triplets or larger multiple-birth families need more government support — not less.

A Commission of Audit recommendation has this month urged the federal government to scrap allowances for families with triplets or more. 

The peak group for multiple births in Australia is warning parents could struggle to make ends meet if the cash support is scrapped. 

South Western Multiple Birth Support Group president Tracey Eagle described the recommendation as a “scary” prospect for parents. 

The support group meets monthly in Warrnambool and has members around the south-west. 

“It’s very hard raising twins or anything higher. The added financial pressures makes it really hard for families,” Ms Eagle said. 

Ms Eagle has three children, including twins, meaning she falls outside the eligibility rules, but said she was “incredibly disappointed” by the audit’s suggestion. 

“There’s a lot of concern about it. Hopefully the government won’t pass it.” 

Under the current arrangement, parents with triplets can apply for an income-tested allowance of up to $3752 per year while parents with quads can apply for up to $4996. 

The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) argues parents need support for the multiplied costs of raising such families. 

AMBA national chairwoman Lorna Barrett said multiple-birth mothers also faced higher chances of post-natal depression.

“Parents with HOMs (Higher Order Multiples) are more susceptible to stress-related disorders and depression. The risk of family breakdown is increased.”

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