Budget is pre-election splurge: not a solution to work/family problem

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

The recently announced Federal Budget is a big spend on families and will therefore assist many families, according to a University of Adelaide labour studies expert.

But, according to Associate Professor Barbara Pocock, Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in Labour Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Adelaide, a significant portion will go towards fixing the Government's earlier mistakes

"It will replace the Baby Bonus, and remediate - but not eliminate - the punitive effective marginal tax rate for those who take up part-time work and lose slabs of benefits," she said today.

"However, the work/family crisis is not just about remediating mistakes and sending out cheques. It is also about fixing long-term problems.

"And this is where the Big Spend squibs: with this sort of money it could have more squarely faced issues, such as:

  • The lack of childcare for under fives, ensuring quality care and getting and paying good staff. The Treasurer Mr Peter Costello is going to increase after school care places - but what about the situation of the thousands of parents looking for care for kids under five?

  • A maternity payment that approaches the minimum decent international standard?"

Associate Professor Pocock said some of the family tax payments that are targeted at two million families are a pretty straightforward payment in advance of the debt that 600,000 will incur through the family payments system, which remains seriously flawed.

"It is a kind of pre-election anaesthetic".

"Even with more than $10 billion in his wallet, the Treasurer has made Australian mothers of new babies wait another four years for close to minimum wage replacement when they have a baby. He could have fixed that comfortably, right away," she said.


Contact Details

Associate Professor Barbara Pocock
Email: barbara.pocock@adelaide.edu.au
Queen Elizabeth II Fellow in Labour Studies
School of Social Sciences
University of Adelaide.
Business: 8313 3736
Mobile: 0414 244 606

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