PPL changes hit vulnerable young families

The federal Coalition can expect a major community campaign for putting tax cuts for millionaires and corporations ahead of paid parental leave for young families, Queensland unions say.

Media reports over the weekend say that more than 80,000 young Australian families from 1 January 2017 face losing thousands of dollars when they are financially vulnerable.

Across the nation, around 47 per cent of new mums – that’s more than 16,000 new Queensland mothers a year - could be affected by the cuts.

The Turnbull LNP government last week introduced proposed legislation to tighten access to the government's paid leave scheme for parents who are also accessing paid leave from their employer.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said Treasurer Scott Morrison had passed laws to give millionaires tax cuts straight away but was taking away security for young families while they brought up their babies.

If passed by Parliament, the change could come into effect as early as January 1, meaning women who are pregnant now could miss out on government benefits.

Typically, low income workers and their families suffer most impact, according to economic modelling in a University of Sydney Fair Agenda report.

For example, a full-time Queensland female paramedic would be $9198 worse off, while a part-time nurse in Victoria misses out on $6570. A part-time teacher in South Australia stands to lose more than $10,500.

Ms McLennan said unions and community groups would escalate the campaign to force the government to reconsider its unfair changes.

“A full-time wage for the first six months of a child’s life, and affordable early education and care when parents are back at work is the best way to create a bright future for all of our kids,” she said.

“Babies do best when they are cared for by a parent, full-time for their first six months. And when parents are back at work, families need affordable early education and care.

“Making sure every new family can give a child this start in life is something employers and the government need to provide, together.”

“We had Tony Abbott’s gold-plated paid parental leave scheme, which was basically a lie to convince young families to vote for him in 2013, and which he walked away from once elected.

“And then on Mothers Day in 2015 we had the sight of former Treasurer and now Ambassador to the United States Joe Hockey doubling down on the insult by calling mums “double dippers”. Young families desperately need financial security as they start bringing up their baby - one of the most important tasks in our community,” she said.

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