The latest Household Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) survey reveals the growing levels of financial stress and inequality being experienced by Australian families.
The HILDA survey shows that child poverty is worsening in single parent families. At the same time, child care costs have doubled for many, wages growth has flat-lined, and levels of home ownership continue to fall.
These results can’t be ignored.
We must consider new approaches to tackling inequality and poverty in Australia.
The survey shows that the likelihood of child poverty in single-parent families is “very high”, between 20 per cent to 25 per cent, considerably higher than the general community rate of around 10 per cent.
The median weekly out of pocket expenditure on child care has more than doubled for single parent families and soared by 74 per cent for couple families since 2002-03.
Low and middle income families are bearing the brunt of rising child care costs.
“These changes suggest that child care costs may be acting to increase inequality.”
[HILDA 2017, p25]
Out of pocket child care costs have risen every year under the Abbott-Turnbull Government. Despite their child care changes, the Government’s own figures show fees are set to keep rising at over 5 per cent a year, well above wages.
Complex new work rules and cuts to early education access will make things even worse for vulnerable children and single parents trying to stay in the workforce.
The Turnbull Government has also recently made a $1.4 billion cut to Family Tax Benefits. By freezing Family Tax Benefit payment rates the Turnbull Government is leaving 1.5 million Australian families and millions of children worse off.
This cut will be felt most acutely by around 600,000 families who get the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A – meaning their household income is less than $52,000 a year.
We need a new vision for a stronger and fairer Australia.
One that focuses on secure jobs and fairer wages, tackles rising power prices, invests in education and healthcare and addresses housing affordability.
One where more Australians are contributing to growth, and more Australians are sharing in our success.
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON JENNY MACKLIN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA