Media Release - Hunter Region to be hit hard by Child Care Benefit Cut

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10 July 2014

Hunter Labor MPs are warning of the impact on local families from the Abbott Government’s plan to freeze income thresholds for the Child Care Benefit

The Child Care Benefit is a means-tested payment to low and middle income families to assist with the cost of child care. The income thresholds for the payment have historically risen in line with the cost of living, but for the first time in the history of the payment the Government has introduced a Bill to stop this - meaning the gap between the cost of child care and Government assistance will grow.

More than 15,500 families in the Hunter region receive this support. The changes will impact low and middle income families, including those earning as little as $42,000 a year.

“The Government’s own Education Department was forced to admit this cut will leave 500,000 low and middle-income families across Australia worse off,” Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, said.

“This is an attack on the families who need support the most, many of whom would otherwise be forced to leave the workforce.”

"If we want women to return to work, to help increase productivity and boost the economy, then we need to support them, and that means making quality child care both affordable and accessible," Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon said.

"But these cuts to the Child Care Benefit just make it more difficult for families already struggling financially to justify a return to work." 

“Child care is not a luxury it is a crucial necessity for many families,” Member for Shortland, Jill Hall, said.

“If we reduce the assistance available for child care then we discourage people from using the services. This will inevitably have an impact on the ability of people to get back into the workforce and stay there for the long-term.”

“We know how important it is for local families to have access to affordable child care. Cutting the Child Care Benefit in this way will impact on those families who need it the most, which is truly unfair,” Member for Charlton, Pat Conroy, said.

“Despite announcing funding cuts to Outside School Hours Care, Indigenous Child and Family Centres, Family Day Care and the Child Care Benefit, the Government are pushing ahead with their unfair paid parental leave scheme. This can only be described as an attack on working families in the Hunter.”

In total, the Abbott Government is has announced $1 billion in cuts to early education and care. Labor MPs are calling for community support for their opposition to these cuts through the petition available at http://www.alp.org.au/targetedchildcarecuts

The legislation to freeze income thresholds for access to the Child Care Benefit is to be considered by the new Senate, which was sworn in this week.

BACKGROUND – CCB:

 

Electorate

No. families using CCB

Newcastle

3,460

Charlton

3,330

Shortland

2,910

Hunter

2,610

Paterson

3,200

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Authorised by Sharon Claydon MP, 427 Hunter Street Newcastle