Single parents fear a generation of children will be entrenched in poverty if the Gillard Government doesn't reverse cuts to single parent benefits.
Dozens of protesters gathered in cities across the country yesterday, to rally against welfare changes which moved 60,000 single parents onto the lower Newstart Allowance.
From 1st January, single parents have received between $60 to $100-a-week less under entitlement changes.
Single Parent Action Group protest organiser Samantha Seymour says 730,000 children are living below the poverty line and the figure is set to rise.
"Effects of poverty include obesity, depression, suicide, developmental delays, poor school outcomes," Ms Seymour told a rally at Parliament House in Canberra.
Single mum Bianca Maciel Pizzorno said her twin boys, aged 8, had offered to empty their piggy banks to help pay the bills.
"It's hard to explain to an 8 year old that $10 isn't going to help," she said.
"'No' is always the word these days."
At a rally at Martin Place in Sydney, Louise Plitz, 31, was one of about 50 protesters.
She said the payment changes were already affecting her and her 10 year old son.
"For example, after rent comes out this week, there will be $100 to live off for two weeks.".
"By the time you put a full tank of petrol in, there's not much left to cover bills. It's extremely stressful."
Social commentator and author Eva Cox, who also attended the Sydney rally, said the Federal Government's reasoning that the parenting cuts would become an incentive for more people to get into the workforce was "just plain stupid".
"For a sole parent, a child's needs come first otherwise they're bad parents, so this idea that people can do full-time or near full-time work is ridiculous."
The Government has said the cuts, worth around $728 million in savings over four years, are needed to achieve a budget surplus in 2012-13.
NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann told the Sydney rally the government was "looking at the wrong end of town to find savings".
The government should reverse the payment cuts and boost the Newstart allowance by $50 a week, she said.
Organisations such as the Benevolent Society and Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) also threw their support behind the national protest.
"It beggars belief that we can be having a national conversation about the inadequacy of Newstart, with politicians lining up to say that it is too low to live on, whilst at the same time we are forcing already vulnerable and disadvantaged families onto that very same payment," said Joel Pringle, campaign manager for AAH.