Mother slams benefit change

Ruth Callaghan, seen here with her son Vince, would prefer not to be forced into choosing between work and child care. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d422889
Ruth Callaghan, seen here with her son Vince, would prefer not to be forced into choosing between work and child care. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d422889

Ms Callaghan said changes to the Child Care Benefit were not encouraging mothers back into the workplace.

‘Going to work just to be able to fund my child’s day care doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, it’s going to affect me negatively,’ she said.

‘It’s incredibly difficult as a woman to get back into the workplace anyway, but when you’re getting slammed with childcare fees it’s frustrating.’

The mother of one said she was already struggling with the high cost of childcare and further changes to her finances would have a significant impact.

‘Once I’ve paid my rent, as I’m on my own now, my childcare, that’s three-quarters of my wage gone, so it leaves me with a couple of hundred dollars for the fortnight and I earn a reasonable amount. I’m lucky enough to have a fairly decent job and I struggle, so how other people manage, I have no idea.’

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Western Australia Alannah MacTiernan said more than 36,000 WA families could be affected by the changes that would see families earning more than $43,000 a year receive a partial rate that lessens as their income increases.

‘This is a direct attack on those West Australian families who can least afford it, including parents who rely on childcare support to return to the workforce,’ she said.

‘Perth will be hit particularly hard ” with tens of thousands of low and middle-income families relying on the Child Care Benefit so they can hold down jobs.’

Federal Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley said although changes would cause a reduction for some families, others earning under $42,997 a year would continue to receive the full rate with one child in care 50 hours a week, 48 weeks a year.

‘The Abbott Government is committed to making child care more affordable, flexible and accessible,’ Ms Ley said.

‘It will help take some of the pressure off working families as we continue to tackle the larger issue of making child care more affordable, flexible and accessible through our Productivity Commission Inquiry.’

The Productivity Commission Inquiry’s draft report is due this month, with the final report due in October.