New mothers and working families will find little joy in Scott Morrison's first budget, with childcare subsidies pushed back to 2018 and Tony Abbott's 'gold standard' paid parental leave entitlements left in limbo.
In news which will come as a bitter disappointment to families paying up to $150 per day, per child for childcare, the government's $40 billion 'Jobs for families' plan has had its start date pushed back until July 2018. That's because they're still trying to push through the family tax benefit cuts necessary to pay for it.
Also on hold until the government can scrape together enough Senate support are proposed changes to the paid parental leave (PPL) scheme. Despite Abbott came to power promising a 'gold standard' PPL scheme which never secured funding, the Federal government last year announced that they wanted to stop women from being able to access PPL funds from both the government and their employers, if offered as part of their workplace contract. Women who are currently pregnant and those trying to conceive have a reprieve for now - but who knows how long it will last.
Executive Director of parental lobby group The Parenthood, Jo Briskey, said that confusion around the Coalition's PPL policy "continues to cause great distress" for many women, while the decision to delay action on affordable childcare "will effectively cost Australian families $1,500 over the next year."
"This budget is an absolute disappointment for families who can't afford to wait any longer for the government to take action on childcare affordability and accessibility."
"Time and time again we've heard from the Coalition that they are committed to addressing the burden of ballooning childcare costs, but if tonight is anything to go by this is nothing more than talk."
"How can you be serious about jobs and growth when you're continuing to make it harder for parents to return to the workforce?" Ms Briskey said.
Slightly more appealing were the budget announcements that the Nanny pilot program will be extended. Here's what else was announced tonight.
Earn over $80,000? The good news is that you will avoid "bracket creep" at tax time with the the upper limit for the second highest tax bracket of 37 cents in the dollar increasing from $80,000 to $87,000, thereby saving you about $315 a year.
Small businesses will benefit from a tax cut, as will larger companies over time.
Women who earn less than $37,000 per year will receive tax cuts on superannuation and mums who take time out of the workforce will be able to rollover super balances for five years when they put less than $25,000 a year into their funds. High income earners will face higher taxes on their super contributions, reducing inequality in the system.
It's a mixed bag in education. University students will not have their fees deregulated after the policy was officially dumped - but universities will still be hit with a 20 per cent funding cut, originally proposed as part of fee deregulation package.
Schools get $1.2 billion in extra funding over three years from 2018, but this is less than Labor's promised $4.5 billion. Disabled students receive $118 million in funding for extra support.
State and territory hospitals will receive $2.9 billion in additional funding between 2017 and 2020.
Ongoing price hikes on cigarettes will raise $4.7 billion over the next four years.
People with a disability will benefit from welfare budget cuts invested in a new NDIS savings fund, but 90,000 disability support recipients will have their payments reviewed to assess capacity to work, with 30,000 undergoing medical assessment.
Young unemployed will be offered training and internship programs, with rewards for employers. Some Work for the Dole recipients will see payments restricted.
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