Pol­icy change means many moth­ers miss out on scheme

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Do you think the Fed­eral Bud­get is fair? @the­druitt

LA­BOR has sin­gled out paid parental leave as a key bat­tle­ground as Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott weighs up an early elec­tion on the back of a bet­ter-re­ceived sec­ond Bud­get.

The first ques­tion time af­ter Trea­surer Joe Hockey de­liv­ered his sec­ond bud­get was dom­i­nated by op­po­si­tion ques­tions about the gov­ern­ment’s parental leave pol­icy change and the coali­tion spruik­ing small busi­ness tax breaks.

From July 1 next year, about 80,000 new moth­ers won’t be able to ac­cess the gov­ern­ment paid parental leave scheme if their em­ployer al­ready pro­vides the same leave.

La­bor says thou­sands of public and pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees who have bar­gained away wages to get ac­cess to em­ployer-pro­vided leave, which com­ple­ments the gov­ern­ment scheme, will be badly im­pacted.

Mr Ab­bott, who de­scribed his now-ditched parental leave scheme as his sig­na­ture pol­icy, said he had been con­vinced the gov­ern­ment needed to pri­ori­tise child­care spend­ing over leave.

Giv­ing work­ers ac­cess to a gov­ern­ment scheme and em­ployer-paid leave was “dou­ble dip­ping” which needed to end, he said.

La­bor leader Bill Shorten seized on com­ments by Mr Hockey and So­cial Ser­vices Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son as ev­i­dence the gov­ern­ment was show­ing contempt for new par­ents.

Pic­ture: BRADEN FASTIER

Su­nia Le­suma with his part­ner Amanda King and their three chil­dren Su­nia Ju­nior, So­phieanna and Sher­rell, strug­gled while he was un­em­ployed.

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