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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