The upcoming Budget is a significant opportunity for the Federal Government to implement measures that will improve the lives of children, women and families and boost productivity, whilst also providing cost of living relief.
More than one million Australian families will benefit from access to more generous Child-Care Subsidy payments from 1 July 2023. This will provide some welcome financial reprieve for families with young children but The Parenthood is calling for greater ambition in the May Federal Budget to address inequity.
Chief Executive Officer Georgie Dent said, “The Parenthood is calling for evidence-based policies that value the role and function of parenting and caring, provide support that enables parents, particularly mothers, to care for their children and financially provide for their families, and recognise the wellbeing of children as a national priority, deliver profound health, social and economic benefits.
“Attitudes and expectations among Australians have shifted profoundly. There is an expectation that political decision makers, at a Federal and state level, will follow evidence-based policies that deliver dividends in social and economic terms.
“The upcoming budget can - and must - reflect the community’s ambition for meaningful reforms that will deliver a more prosperous, equitable and inclusive nation and economy.”
The Parenthood’s key policy asks ahead of the Budget to this end include:
- expand statutory paid parental leave for men and women and promote shared care;
- abolish the activity test to improve early learning access for children facing disadvantage;
- fund an interim wage increase of 15% for early educators to help stabilise high workforce attrition rates and deliver early learning reform;
- restore access to the Single Parenting Payment until the youngest child turns 16;
- support parents and caregivers through more family-inclusive workplace policies; and
- build towards universal three-year-old preschool for all children, with at least three days of quality, inclusive early childhood education and care.
“Abolishing the childcare activity test that disadvantages low-income or single-parent families, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and children from culturally diverse backgrounds is long overdue. So is restoring the single parenting payment until the youngest child is 16,” Ms Dent said.
“The 2023 Federal Budget needs to prioritise investments that will reduce inequity, improve the lives of children and parents, and lay the foundations for a sustainable and inclusive economy – and nation.
“How we support and nurture children under five and their parents is character-defining. For too many children and families, Australia has failed this test and that no longer flies with the majority of Australians. It is time for meaningful change.”