GOVERNMENT BACKFLIP ON PAID PARENTAL LEAVE DIMINISHES BENEFITS OF NEW CHILD CARE SUBSIDY

11 May 2015

YWCA Canberra has expressed concerns that the potential positive impacts of the Federal Government’s new Child Care Subsidy will be limited by its backflip on paid parental leave, and cuts to the family tax benefit.

As an established best-practice child care provider, YWCA Canberra welcomed some measures included in the newly announced Child Care Subsidy that will make childcare more accessible to families.

This includes the provision of ongoing access to early childhood learning for families on incomes of less than $65,000, and the Child Care Safety Net.

Executive Director of YWCA Canberra, Frances Crimmins said “While we’re pleased with the recognition the proposed new scheme gives to parents on lower incomes, we are concerned about the rhetoric about pushing parents into the workforce.”

“The scheme does not recognise that not all parents can work, and makes it increasingly difficult for parents to make decisions about their child’s care without being faced with significant financial concerns.

“We’re also concerned about the proposal to offset the costs of the scheme by cutting the family tax benefit – a payment that is relied upon by low-income parents across Australia.

“This combined with the Government’s sudden backflip on paid parental leave, means that the potential positive impact of the new child care subsidy is likely to be diminished significantly.”

Ms Crimmins also highlighted that the proposed cuts to the paid parental leave scheme mandate that women are only able to access parental leave payments from either the Government or their employer, allowing businesses to drop their gender equitable policies.

“This is proposal is in stark contract to the Government’s original stance, and one that seemingly attacks women who have successfully negotiated with their employer to achieve the best possible outcome for their leave and return to work during pregnancy,” Ms Crimmins said.

“We are very worried that this will see the corporate sector undo the recent advances we’ve made towards gender equitable workplaces, and return that onus to the Government.”

YWCA Canberra will continue to advocate for a childcare subsidy system that is fair and equitable to parents and providers, complemented by policies that empower women to participate economically.

– ENDS –

Frances Crimmins is available for interview.

Media contact: Zoya Patel, 0429 210 881

About YWCA Canberra: YWCA Canberra is a feminist, not-for-profit community organisation that has been providing community services and representing women’s issues in the Canberra community since its establishment in 1929. YWCA Canberra employs more than 300 staff across the ACT, and delivers 30 quality programs in children’s services, community development, housing, youth services, women’s leadership, advocacy, and training. Represented in 122 countries, the YWCA has a global reach of 25 million women and girls. As part of this international movement, YWCA Canberra works for a world where reconciliation, justice, peace, health, human dignity, freedom and care for the environment are promoted and sustained through women’s leadership. For more information visit: www.ywca-canberra.org.au

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Flickr: YWCA Canberra

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