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15 June 2009

* 778  MRS MIRABELLA: To ask the Minister for Education—

(1) In respect of the now fully operational Child Care Management System (CCMS), for each week for the period 4 May 2009 to 1 June 2009: (a) for how many children did the Government provide the Child Care Benefit (CCB); (b) what was the breakdown, by age, of children in approved care; (c) what was the total cost to the Government of the CCB; (d) what was the total number of reported centre vacancies; and (e) what was the breakdown, by postcode, of centre vacancies.

(2) W hat proportion of total Government spending on the CCB is provided for (a) approved, and (b) registered, care.

(3) On average, how many claims for the CCB are made each week for registered care.

(4) What is the Government’s most recent data on average weekly child care costs.

(5) Does she intend to release the results of her department’s November 2008 Survey of Child Care Services; if so, when; if not, why not.

* 779  MRS MIRABELLA: To ask the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—In respect of the Government’s proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme, to be administered by her department—

( 1) Is it a fact that the Government estimates 148,000 parents will be eligible for Paid Parental Leave each year, but around 14 per cent of parents will not elect for this option, bringing the total estimated yearly figure to around 127,000 recipients.

(2) Is it a fact that in the Government’s booklet Australia’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme (2009, page 9) a claim is made that families will be on average $2,000 better off under the scheme than under the current arrangements; if so, does this mean that the cost of the scheme to the Government will be at least an additional $254 million a year—costing at least $889 million, as opposed to the Government’s estimated $721 million, over five years.

* 780  MRS MIRABELLA: To ask the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—In respect of the Government’s proposed Paid Parental Leave scheme, to be administered by her department—

(1)  Did the Government pay external consultants to work on its policy position on the Productivity Commission Report Paid Parental Leave: Support for Parents with Newborn Children (28 February 2009); if so, who were they and what sum of money were they paid; if not, which department did the policy work and prepared the booklet Australia’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme (2009) released on Budget night.

(2) Exactly how will the $2.35 million allocated for “communication and evaluation” expenses under the scheme for the 2009-10 financial year be spent given the scheme is not scheduled to commence until half-way through the 2010-11 financial year.

(3) Has a special group or taskforce been assembled within her department to administer the scheme; if so, (a) how many people are currently employed in that capacity, and (b) will that number increase; if so, to what number and when.

(4) Given some businesses will become paymasters, (a) what role will her department play in the implementation of the scheme, (b) will another department play a part in administering the scheme; if so, which department; and (c) who will businesses be required to deal with to ensure they receive the advanced payments for paying their employees.

(5) Who will be responsible for benchmarking the (a) current levels of Paid Parental Leave, and (b) potential for employers to roll-back their support as the Government steps in with the taxpayer funded scheme; and can she guarantee that the current level of women with access to paid parental leave (54 per cent) will not drop under the scheme.

(6) On what modelling was the costing of the scheme based, and who provided the modelling.

(7)  What overall modelling was done to examine the impact of Paid Parental Leave on, and its interaction with, the Family Tax Benefit transfer system and effective marginal tax rates; and will she release this modelling; if so, when; if not why not.

 
 
 

I. C. HARRIS

Clerk of the House of Representatives