Mother’s Day Budget Surprise
11 May 2015 at 12:22 pm
It was intended as a Mother’s Day gift to the tune of $3.5 billion, but the Abbott Government’s showcase childcare package has been slammed for “stealing” money out of family's pockets and forcing mothers back into work.
Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey announced that the package would be included in tomorrow’s Federal Budget, saying it would provide greater choice for more than 1.2 million families.
“Families using childcare in 2017, on family incomes of between $65,000 and $170,000 will be around $30 a week better off,” Abbott said.
“Those on higher incomes will, on average, continue to receive the same level of support.”
But the scheme will actually see almost 50 per cent of new mothers lose access to the full $11,500 available under the Government’s current package.
About 80,000 new mothers with employer schemes will lose some or all of their Government parental leave payments.
It is understood that children of families with an income of $65,000 or under will continue to be subsidised for 12 hours of childcare a week, but those over that threshold, with a parent not working or studying for at least eight hours a fortnight, will not receive Government help.
Hockey told Channel Nine that the Government wanted to stop families from “double dipping”.
“At the moment people … are effectively double dipping,” Hockey said.
"We are going to stop that … You cannot get both parental leave from your employer and from taxpayers.”
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President, Ged Kearney, did not hold back on her opinion of the childcare changes.
“Be angry, be very very angry! Such hypocrisy is hard to imagine let alone actually deal with,” Kearney tweeted.
Opposition families spokesperson, Jenny Macklin, said the Government had backflipped on one of its signature policies.
“The one thing that parents know from Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey is that you would never believe anything they say about paid parental leave,” Macklin said.
“Labor is open to changes which assist families to deal with an increased cost of living, and make it easier for parents to participate in the workforce.
“However we will not support the short-sighted and cruel cuts to family payments the Government is trying to link to these changes.”
Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) CEO, Cassandra Goldie, said the package was unbalanced.
“As a total package, the reforms to family and child care payments are unbalanced. Very low income families are being asked to foot the bill for generous subsidies to those who are already doing well financially. In addition, the package does not strike the right balance between workforce participation and child development, with some vulnerable children worse off,” Goldie said.
“It is difficult to reconcile the generous assistance being extended to families in the top 25% of incomes with the severe cuts to payments for families struggling to make ends meet. The package includes the cuts to family payments announced in the last Budget, up to $60 a week for single parent households, while reducing child care subsidies for families locked out of paid work.”