The purpose of this report is to examine the three major sources of income support for single parent families in Australia: social security payments and cash transfers for children; earned income from the parent’s labour force participation; and maintenance payments from the non-custodial parent. The analysis centres on the trends in labour force participation and proportions in receipt of pensions and benefits in the period 1974-1982, and the incentives and disincentives to paid employment for male and female single parents. The analysis also focuses on the adequacy of transfer payments, tax treatments and services (labour force training, childcare provision and housing) as they affect single parents. On each of these issues comparisons are made with the economic situation and labour force status of single parents in Sweden and with the tax/transfer policies which apply to them. A comparative analysis of this nature identifies various 3 alternative policies which have been developed to respond to similar family forms and processes, and allows for evaluation of the adequacy of alternative policies in meeting the needs of single parents and their children. The alternatives of single parent families' reliance on paid employment, social security payments or maintenance from the non-custodial parent (or on combinations of all three) raise issues not only of the adequacy of income derived from these sources, but also of the extent to which single parent family policies promote dependency, economic marginality and an increased likelihood of poverty, or whether they facilitate independence and labour force participation for the custodial parent and income security for the family unit.