mum3Family Voice Australia has posted the following comment on the Australian federal budget, delivered Wednesday:

Joe Hockey’s budget punishes mums who do this nation a service by providing optimal childcare at home.  This is incredibly short-sighted. 

  • Double income families get $36,000 tax free before they start paying tax.
  • Single income, two parent families where mum stays home to care for children get only $18,000 tax free, then pay tax on the rest of their income. 

Family Tax Benefit B, designed to partly bridge the huge tax-free gap, will now disappear when the youngest child turns six.  Double income families get up to $7,500 in childcare assistance, and mums in these families will qualify for up to $50,000 in paid parental leave.

Single income families with home-based mums get no paid parental leave. They receive only $2000 (first baby) or $1000 (later babies) as a maternity payment after the baby bonus was abolished last year.

A mother’s choice to remain in the paid workforce while sending the kids to childcare institutions will be supported by up to $67,500, paid by the taxpayer and big business – who will pass on the cost to the rest of us.   Mums who do this nation a service by providing optimal childcare at home receive almost nothing.

The latest Australian childcare study suggests that pushing more mums into paid work and children into long daycare could well lead to a fall in education standards. Do we want to produce a generation who cannot read, write and count well?  What will happen to our ‘clever country’ then?  We are putting at risk the productivity of our future workforce.

Ros Phillips is research officer for Family Voice Australia. This is an edited version of a press release posted there