LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to scrap the Paid Parental Leave scheme, saying he hopes it will free up much-needed support for families struggling to access appropriate childcare services.
“I’m a very strong advocate for parental leave, but it has to be affordable,” Mr Entsch said.
“Unfortunately, with the financial emergency that we inherited from Labor, I believe there are other priorities in the short term.
“We do have a paid parental leave scheme already in place through Centrelink, and while some might argue that it could be improved, at the moment we have to accept that it’s adequate – particularly when we see the challenges that families are faced with as a result of our childcare system.
“I’ll certainly be encouraging the Prime Minister and the new Minister for Human Services, Scott Morrison, to apply some of the savings from the scrapping of the PPL to a range of childcare initiatives that will better support working families in Leichhardt.”
Mr Entsch said he has spoken at length with families and childcare providers in the Far North over a range of issues, including the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into childcare affordability and changes to funding for Family Day Care services.
“Last year we had a visit from the then-Assistant Minister for Education, Sussan Ley, in relation to challenges being faced by Family Day Care services in Weipa and Cooktown. They were facing massive funding cuts as a result of the new FDC funding structure and the Weipa service was set to close on December 31st.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to achieve a successful outcome in Weipa and I understand that the Department is still working with Cooktown, but I’m hopeful of good news there too.
“I’ve also recently been contacted by a Family Day Care educator here in Cairns who has told me that proposed changes to family assistance legislation (forbidding children of Family Day Care Educators to access Family Day Care) will have a very negative impact on local families and children.
“I’ll be writing to the Minister about this, as well as recommending that we take a good look at the various forms of childcare that make up the industry to ensure the services are available, affordable and meet the needs of working parents.”