Joe Hockey’s statements about women’s workforce participation conveniently neglect that his Government’s child care changes will make it significantly harder for many women to balance work and family.
On one hand, Joe Hockey is telling women to go back to work “for the sake of the future of the Australian economy.” [SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, 30 AUGUST 2015].
On the other, one in four families will be worse off under the Government’s child care changes – including many families with a stay-at-home parent, or ones trying to get back into the workforce, the exact target of his latest proposal.
“If Joe Hockey really want to make it easier for women to return to work he shouldn’t be making it harder for them to access child care,” Shadow Early Childhood Minister, Kate Ellis, said.
“It’s going to be harder for mothers to get back into the workforce when one in four will be worse off by an average of $1,800 a year because of their child care changes.
“New restrictions on child care access will also make it harder for women to go back to work – particularly if they are working part time of casual hours.
“Just three months ago Joe Hockey made a ‘Families Package’ the centrepiece of his budget, including cuts to family payments and new child care restrictions. Now he seems to be admitting he got it wrong.
“Increasing women's workforce participation is incredibly important, but access to child care is the critical first step in returning to the workforce. If Joe Hockey is serious about helping women return to work, he will make sure that his child care changes don’t make it harder.
“These statements can't be taken seriously until the Government reveals the detail of their child care package and answers the substantial questions regarding how families will be affected.”
SUNDAY, 30 AUGUST 2015