Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she hasn't spoken to Families Minister Jenny Macklin about her assertions that she could live off $35 a day.

Under changes to the welfare payment scheme, the majority of the 84,000 single parents who receive parenting payments will be moved to the Newstart Allowance when their youngest child turns eight.

Ms Macklin angered welfare groups by claiming she could live on Newstart payments of $246 a week - or about $35 a day - while defending cuts to single parents' benefits.

The minister, who earns about $850 a day, has since been challenged to prove it, while her Labor colleagues have dodged answering whether they too could survive on the dole.

However, Ms Gillard on Saturday said she had not discussed the comments with Ms Macklin.

"No, I haven't. Jenny Macklin is a fantastic minister doing an amazing job on work in our families and also our work in indigenous affairs," Ms Gillard told ABC News 24.

Ms Gillard also didn't directly respond to whether she could live on 35 a day.

"Of course, it would be incredibly tough to be out of work and to be trying to work your way through on a Newstart payment ... the thing you would want most is a job," she said.

Instead of looking to increase the Newstart Allowance, Ms Gillard said the government's focus was making sure people had the benefits of work.

"I'm not here today to make announcements about changes," she said.

"Of course, Newstart for anybody who is unemployed is a tough time in their lives and the best thing we can do is make sure we are keeping our resilient economy generating jobs and giving people the skills they need to get those jobs.

"But I do want to make the point I think that in some of this commentary it has been lost, that the change we have made for single parents is to equalise treatment."


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