Aussie Election vote impacts families02 July 2016 by News Desk
Families have been a key battleground in the Aussie Election vote and are expected to determine the final outcome.
“The Aussie election vote will be decided on a range of internal factors such as the economy, housing and jobs,” says Darrell Todd, founder of thinkingaustralia.
“I suspect some voters’ decisions could also be influenced in part by the UK Brexit vote as further uncertainty is the last thing Aussies want.”
With families making up the majority of people in work and being an engine-room of the economy with their spending, the concerns of Aussie households have played a key part of main parties’ manifestos.
Households have been hit by the Coalition government’s plans for a range of cuts and changes to welfare payments, including scrapping the maternity leave scheme that paid mothers their full income for six months.
“Families will have the final say in the Aussie election vote. The voice of ordinary people will be heard,” says Darrell Todd.
Aussie Election Vote – Impact on Families
Labor says the Coalition’s plans for welfare cuts are unfair and target the poor and the Opposition has managed to block and delay many of the government’s planned cuts. This is a key reason why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the general election.
The government says that national savings must be found. Labor agrees that welfare payments need reform but believes the existing system is good.
Here’s what both main parties have promised as part of their election manifestos:
Family tax benefits – Family Tax Benefit A is a means-tested payment for families with dependent children between the ages of 0 and 19. The payment is worth a maximum of $234 per child per fortnight but depends on income and the child’s age.
Family Tax Benefit B is a means-tested payment for single-parent families and families with one income of $100,000 a year or less. It is worth a maximum of $153 per family a fortnight but depends on the age of the youngest child and the income of any secondary income earner in the family.
From July 1, 2016, Family Tax Benefit B will be scrapped for couples when their youngest child turns 13. Single parents over age of 60 and grandparent carers will continue to get this payment until their youngest child turns 18.
The Coalition has promised to increase the maximum rate payment by $10 a fortnight on Family Tax Benefit A if Parliament passes legislation to scrap the annual supplements, which are top-up payments sent out at the end of every financial year, once parents have lodged tax returns.
The FTB-A supplement is worth $720 per child per year while the FTB-B supplement is worth $350 per family per year. The Coalition aims to phase out these supplements by 2018 saying they are no longer needed.
Labor would retain these supplements but would halve the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement for families earning $100,000 a year or more. Labor also opposes changes to Family Tax Benefit A, but it has agreed to scrap Family Tax Benefit B.
Childcare – The Government has pledged to overhaul the childcare sector with a $3bn package that will see subsidies changed into one means-tested payment. Low-income families would receive the highest subsidy, covering up to 85 per cent of costs. The subsidy gradually falls to 50% for families earning $170,000 a year or more.
Families earning up to $185,000 a year would have no annual cap on the amount of rebate provided. Families earning above this amount would be eligible for up to $10,000 in capped assistance per child per year.
It includes an activity test that both parents must meet before they qualify for support, and all the Coalition’s changes are contingent on cuts to family tax benefits to pay for the package, with the implementation delayed until July 2018.
The Opposition is keeping the current system but adding $3bn extra and promises to introduce this from January 2017 – 18 months earlier than the Government.
Under Labor the cap on the childcare rebate will be raised from $7,500 to $10,000 and childcare benefit will also rise by 15%, providing families with an extra $31 per week.
Labor will also provide $160 million to increase childcare and after-school care places in areas where there is a high demand.
Paid Parental Leave – Currently primary carers who meet a work and residency test and earn less than $150,000 per year are entitled to up to 18 weeks of parental leave pay at the minimum wage ($657 per week). This is in addition to paid parental leave they receive from their employer.
The Coalition plans to cut the existing scheme and instead ‘top up’ the paid parental leave already provided by employers to ensure mothers get a total of 18 weeks of paid leave. Labor says it will not change the existing policy.
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