The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

JACKPOT FOR MUMS

Hockey’s pitch to get women back to work

- RENEE VIELLARIS

FAMILIES will keep welfare even if parents return to work or increase their working hours, under a plan to supercharg­e the economy.

The Sunday Mail can reveal Treasurer Joe Hockey is examining options to make it more lucrative for mums to return to work, declaring “for the sake of the future of the Australian economy, we need you”.

FAMILIES will keep welfare payments even if they return to work or boost their working hours under a plan to supercharg­e the economy.

The Abbott Government white paper – to be released before the next election – will include options that will allow low-to-middle income households to keep some or a portion of their benefits, such as Family Tax Benefit A or the Child Care Benefit.

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail, Joe Hockey has directly appealed to women to encourage them back into the workforce, saying: “For the sake of the future of the Australian economy, we need you.”

The Treasurer revealed his Governmen t understood more working women wanted to extend the time they spent with their kids, and “conversati­ons” were being held on how it could be achieved.

The Sunday Mail understand­s this could be through the industrial relations system, by allowing for more job sharing or giving women more opportunit­y to work from home.

If female participat­ion (this means in work or looking for work) increased by just 4 per cent (or 393,000 extra women nationally; which equates to 78,000 women in Queensland) it would add $25 billion to the economy. Eligible families who have a child under 13 years receive a FTB A payment of about $4500.

But if their income spills over $48,837, their benefit is reduced by 20¢ for every extra dollar earned. It means there can be no incentive to work harder.

“As you earn more, you not only stand to lose benefits, but you may also jump in to higher tax brackets and then pay more tax on extra dollars you earn,” Mr Hockey y said.

“We have an ageing population, we need (women) to be more productive. We need you for your experience, we need you for the contributi­on you all make for the jobs that your children will get in the future.

“The Prime Minister and I have talked about how we can try and support women who are endeavouri­ng to balance a home life and other demands but we’re working it through.

“It’s not just mums re t ur ni ng (to the workforce) but mums who want to spend more time with their own children.

“One area of growth is the start-up of home-based businesses and women have been prolific in setting up home-based businesses, they’re great innovators.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told The Sunday Mail the need for women to be economical­ly active was “central to our very notion of modern society”.

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