Australia is well known for its great lifestyle with expat families often praising the work-life balance that they find when they move to the country.
Now the Government is set to make it easier for families where both parents work with new legislation to make the Australian child care system more affordable, flexible and accessible.
A new Bill creates what is called the Jobs for Families package, described as the most significant reform to the early education and care system in 40 years.
The aim is to give around one million Australian families relief from out of pocket child care cost pressures and provide more children with the opportunity to benefit from early education.
‘The package of measures creates a better environment for Australian parents who want to work or work more. Support will target those who work the most and earn the least,’ said Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training.
Under the reforms a working family earning $60,000 a year will pay around $15 per day for child care. And the current cap on the $7,500 Child Care Rebate will be removed, which officials say means there will be more incentive for parents who want to enter the workforce or work more.
‘The Jobs for Families child care package is designed to put downward pressure on increases through our hourly rate cap, increases workforce involvement for 230,000 families and ensures the most vulnerable children get the best start in life,’ said Christian Porter, Minister for Social Services.
The package of reforms will also increase fortnightly payments to people who receive Family Tax Benefit Part A by up to an additional $20 per fortnight per child up to 19 years of age, expected to help 1.2 million families and helping parents in managing the day to day living expenses of their 2.2 million children.
At the same time Government provided parental leave pay will be increased from 18 weeks to 20 weeks, providing an extra two weeks leave for almost 100,000 low income families.
‘This is great news for the more than 50 per cent of eligible low-income mothers whose employers do not provide their own paid parental leave,’ Porter added.
To ensure fairness in the system, mothers receiving paid parental leave from their employers will have access to Government-funded PPL up to a combined total of 20 weeks which Porter said is important to ensure that taxpayer funded paid parental leave is sustainable into the future for mothers whose employers do not offer sufficient paid parental leave.