The Courier-Mail

Parental sav­ings on the block

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THE fed­eral Bud­get faces another $1 bil­lion black­hole as the Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment strug­gles to con­vince the Se­nate of its plan to tar­get so-called “dou­ble dip­pers”.

The Se­nate cross­bench is likely to block pro­posed changes that would scale back paid parental leave en­ti­tle­ments for new mums and dads.

Unions and fam­ily groups are win­ning the bat­tle to per­suade the sen­a­tors over plans that would see 79,000 women a year lose all or par­tial ac­cess to the Com­mon­wealth scheme.

In May Trea­surer Joe Hockey an­nounced plans to save $967.7 mil­lion over four years with a more “fairly tar­geted” scheme that stops new par­ents ac­cess­ing both their em­ployer-funded ma­ter­nity leave and gov­ern­ment-funded parental leave pay­ments.

It came af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott ditched his sig­na­ture 26-week, $5.5 bil­lion paid parental leave pol­icy – which he took to two elec­tions – be­cause many of his col­leagues re­garded it as “too gen­er­ous”.

Vic­to­rian in­de­pen­dent Sen­a­tor John Madi­gan lashed out at the Gov­ern­ment’s char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion of some moth­ers as “dou­ble-dip­pers”.

“As it stands, moth­ers en­ti­tled to paid parental leave from their em­ployer can also claim a gov­ern­ment ben­e­fit. It is un­fair, and com­pletely in­ap­pro­pri­ate, to char­ac­terise women who do so as wel­fare cheats,” Sen­a­tor Madi­gan said.

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