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Budget highlights child care fraud, fails to tackle fundamental problems

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, The latest Budget revealed the fraudulent nature of the Hawke Λ Government's election commitment to provide 20,000 new child care v. places and failed to tackle fundamental reform of Australia's income security system.

Senator Messner - the Shadow Minister for Community Services - said that it demonstrated the lack of priority attached by the Government to that commitment.

"After such a big build up, we find that just 1,000 new child care places are to be financed this financial year,"

"In addition the Government has stilled failed to provide details of the cuts to be made in the child care which were announced in the May mini-Budget, This is despite widespread concern amongst users of child care facilities around Australia."

Senator Messner said that while the Hawke Government had shown a degree of willingness to examine and act in the area of youth income support, it had failed to address other important issues affecting all recipients of income support in Australia.

"The Government continues to adopt a piece-meal approach to reform of income security. Its the same type of approach that it adopted in the retirement income area."

"It still fails to face up to the need to integrate the tax and social security systems to reduce the poverty traps faced by pensioners and beneficiaries."

"Until it does so, these people will still continue to suffer the highest effective personal tax rates in Australia. Little in the Budget alters this fact."

"In addition, the trend of rising direct tax bills faced by pensioners since the election of the Hawke Government will continue unabated."

Senator Messner said that in the light of past experience he was sceptical about the new Community Disability Services Programme but hoped it would live up to the goals set for it by the Hawke Government.

"Two previous rationalizations in the community services area - Supported Accommodation Assistance Programme (SAAP) and Home and Community Care Programme (HACC) (which has been announced for the third time in twelve months) - have proven to be designed to

serve interests of public servants than the people they were intended to assist."

"In addition, little in the way of new money or services were provided under those schemes despite the heady statements made by the Government during the last campaign."

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Senator Messner welcomed the change in the payment arrangements of the Handicapped Child Allowance.

"Payment of the Allowance for periods of respite care up to a total of 28 days per year was one of the issues on which the Liberal and National Parties campaigned last election. The change means parents of disabled children will be greatly assisted."

Senator Messner also applauded the increase in deduction available for superannuation contributions by the self-employed.

"I hope that in the coming months the Government continues to display a positive commitment to genuine retirement saving through occupational superannuation schemes."


Contact; Barry 0'Farrell (062) 72 6966