We will not support more penalties for low income women

The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) has been at the forefront of women’s groups arguing the pre-eminent importance of affordable accessible child care, both to assist women move out of poverty through workforce participation, and for its benefits for child development.

We campaigned in favour of referral to the Productivity Commission, and gave evidence to the Commission. We welcomed the Commission’s final report. We welcome the Government’s objective of making quality child care more accessible and affordable.

But we cannot support further penalties being imposed on low income women in order to finance an expansion of child care.

Minister Morrison, together with the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance have made it quite explicit that expanded funding for child care is contingent on the Senate enacting changes to Family Tax Benefit which were proposed in last year’s Budget.

Analysis by Professor Peter Whiteford and Daniel Nethery of the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy showed that these proposals would have meant that an unemployed lone parent with one 8 year old child would lose $60 per week, about 12% of their disposable income.

Lone parents who are working and earning around two-thirds of the average wage would lose by 5.7 to 7.1% of their disposable income, between $60 and $75 per week. A single income couple with two school age children and earning average earnings would lose nearly $90 per week or around 6% of their disposable income.

We agree with the Minister that there is scope for reform of FTBB. We would support a reformation which removes workforce disincentives without further penalising the poor. We cannot support the robbing of poor women to enable other low income and middle income women to reduce their child care costs.

For further information contact:
Marie Coleman AO PSM 0414483067,
Chair, Social Policy Committee, National Foundation for Australian Women

Viv Hardy 0411 208 951

Download a copy here – Childcare May 2015 Media release (1)