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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 281

Pensions and Benefits


Ms MARINO (ForrestChief Government Whip) (14:14): My question is to the Minister for Social Services. Will the minister update the House on how the government will ensure appropriate and sustainable support is provided for hardworking Australian families when they need it most? Is the minister aware of any other approaches that would lead to an increase in the cost of living?


Mr PORTER (PearceMinister for Social Services) (14:14): I thank the member for her question. Supporting hardworking Australians was the subject of an announcement by the Prime Minister, the education minister and me today. How families fare depends, of course, on their ability in the long run to engage in the workforce and employment. The reforms we have announced today absolutely maximise the opportunities for individuals to engage in the workforce and to improve their and their family's circumstances. For instance, a single-parent family with an income of $50,000 and two children in long day care for two days, which costs $100 a day, will be $1,400 better off under the reforms that we announced. That same family, if they were using family day care for three days, will be $2½ thousand better off.

The reforms we have announced today, as the Prime Minister has noted, will benefit one million hardworking Australians—the biggest reforms to child care in a generation. The greatest benefit will go to hardworking families with the lowest incomes. Families under $65,000 will see childcare costs at only $15 a day, representing an 85 per cent subsidy to child care. Ninety thousand families will benefit from the abolition of the rebate cap, and 40,000 families will benefit from an increase in the rebate cap to $10,000. Reforms will put downward pressure on the cost of child care, which was inflated under members opposite.

Reforms are estimated to increase the involvement of 230,000 Australians in the workforce. At the same time, there is a $20 increase to all families receiving, per fortnight, FTBA. Ninety-six thousand families will benefit from two extra weeks paid paternity leave and up to an extra $1,300 after the birth of their child. All of this is achieved by closing down end-of-year supplements—the greatest reforms to child care in a generation achieved by closing down end-of-year supplements, a $20 increase a fortnight by ending supplements and more paid parental leave for the lowest income earners in Australia because we are able to reform the family tax benefit system.

I was asked whether or not there were any alternative policies. This is the biggest reform to child care in a generation, child care whose prices were inflated, under members opposite, over six years. Yes, there is an alternative option. After four years in opposition to think about this and devise an alternative plan, the member for Adelaide announced the alternative plan for child care: a national consultation. Well, you can hear the sighs of relief from parents at the doors of child care as we sit here today. A national consultation with child development experts and academics— (Time expired)

Mr Fletcher interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Urban Infrastructure is warned.