The Albanese Labor Government is delivering for families and children through a Budget that is focused on supporting women’s workforce participation and implementing responsible cost of living measures.
Changes to the Paid Parental Leave Scheme would see more than 180,000 families nationally benefit, according to departmental figures, while 1.26 million families will be better off under changes to the Child Care Subsidy.
The Government will also invest $12.4 million to promote Playgroups and Toy Libraries, delivering on our election commitment to provide educational support to families who might not access formalised care.
Playgroups and Toy Libraries are a key entry point to early childhood education for vulnerable families. They improve the early development and wellbeing of children, improve parent-child relationships and increase feelings of belonging and connection in families with their communities.
The biggest area of brain development for children occurs between the ages of 0-5 and ensuring they have access to play-based learning, regardless of socio-economic status is a priority for the Albanese Labor Government.
The Government’s reforms will cut the cost of early education and care for around 96 per cent of families with children in care. No family will be worse off.
Making early education and care more affordable means children get access to critical early learning and parents – especially mothers – can go back to paid work if they want to.
Under the Government’s reforms, a family on the median combined income of $120,000 with one child in early childhood education will save $1780 in the first year of this plan.
The following numbers of families in each state and territory will benefit from more affordable early education and care:
- • In NSW about 410,000 families
- • In Victoria about 302,100 families
- • In Queensland about 284,100 families
- • In Western Australia about 111,800 families
- • In South Australia about 85,000 families
- • In the ACT about 30,400 families
- • In Tasmania about 22,000 families
- • In the Northern Territory about 10,900 families.
For the first time the Government can reveal its suite of PPL reforms will mean: an easier claiming process that allows either parent to be the primary claimant; parents will be able to take weeks of leave at the same time, so they can spend time at home together with their children; and better access to paid leave for parents whose partners’ don’t meet residency requirements.
Eligibility will be expanded through the introduction of a $350,000 family income test, which families can be assessed under if they don’t meet the individual income test.
Under current measures, if a family wants to share parental leave, the birth mother must claim PPL first then transfer it to the other parent. This is administratively complex and burdensome for parents. The Government’s changes will ensure either parent can be the primary claimant, simplifying the claiming process for families.
Dads and partners who meet residency requirements would also be supported to receive PPL in circumstances where the birth mother does not meet the newly arrived resident’s waiting period requirement. A total of 1500 families are set to benefit from this change.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said supporting families was not just good for individuals, it was good for business and the economy more broadly.
Playgroups and Toy Libraries was also an important commitment that would benefit those families who need it most, Minister Rishworth said.
Quotes attributable to Minister Rishworth:
“We are committed to making a better Australia and leaving no one behind. These measures to help families do just that.
“Our PPL changes will make it easier for families to share care by removing the current requirement that the primary claimant must be the birth parent.
“This will make it easier for partners to take leave and remove assumptions about mothers and fathers being ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carers.”
Quotes attributable to Minister Clare:
“The Government’s reforms to make affordable early learning and care is good for children, good for families and good for the economy,” Mr Clare said.
“This is economic reform – boosting productivity and cutting the cost of living for more than a million families across the country.
“It means parents have the chance to do more paid work if they want to, which means thousands of skilled workers for the economy.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Early Education and Youth Anne Aly:
“Early childhood education and care plays a vital role in supporting families and improves the education and health outcomes of our children.
“Access to early childhood education means improved economic security for women where families can make the choices around workforce participation and early childhood education that work for them.”