Toy libraries can apply for $30 million in grants for toy equipment.
Toy libraries can apply for $30 million in grants for toy equipment.

Why Aussie parents and pensioners are angry

AUSTRALIAN families are fuming as they face childcare fee hikes and uncertain preschool funding, while older Australians think they should pay their own way and more funds must go to pensioners.

An analysis of policy in the wake of the shock election result reveals tax and childcare policies will continue to lock working mothers into a three-day week.

Many News Corp readers responded to the issue online, suggesting parents should not "expect hand outs" to help raise their kids.

Older Australians, who never had access to childcare, suggested parents should stay at home or cut back on luxuries to help pay for their childcare costs.

Some also called on the Morrison Government to give pensioners more money in their pension.

Currently, pensioners stand to save over $80 a year on medicine under the Morrison Government.

Elderly people who need transport and help from cleaners and carers to stay in their own home rather than move into a nursing home will get access to 10,000 new home care packages funded for older Australians.

There will also be small increases in Medicare rebates for doctors' services of between 60 cents and $2 when the Medicare freeze ends in July.

Pensioners and welfare recipients will get a one-off energy supplement of up to $75.

But readers suggested this was not enough to make a difference.

Around 80,000 young people will be paid $2,000 to train as tradies in areas of skills shortages including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers.

What do you think of what's ahead for families and pensioners? Tell us below.

CHILDCARE AND PRESCHOOL

Families are facing above inflation childcare fee hikes without extra subsidies and the prospect of $2,000 fees for preschool education from January 2021.

To help deliver a surplus the Coalition budgeted to provide funding for 15 hours of preschool for four year olds, but only until the end of next year.

Now it has been returned the government will need to find over $630 million to fund the sector in future years or face the wrath of 350,000 families who are up for fees of up to $2,000 a year, says The Parenthood spokeswoman Alys Gagnon.

Early Childhood Australia says families with three-year-olds will also miss out on the 15 hours a week of preschool that was being promised by Labor.

 

Preschool funding runs out next year.
Preschool funding runs out next year.

 

Australia's largest for profit childcare group G8 imposed an above inflation fee hike of between 3.8 and 4.5 per cent at many centres during the election campaign.

Labor's more generous childcare subsidies would have eased the pain of the fee rises for families and now the Coalition will have to deal with family anger over the fee hikes which will erode take home pay for women using the company's 519 centres.

Labor’s more generous childcare subsidies would have eased the pain of rising fees.
Labor’s more generous childcare subsidies would have eased the pain of rising fees.

The major provider says it has no intention of reversing the fee rises it says were developed "without any prior knowledge of the policy development of any political party".

Childcare consultant Lisa Bryant. who has worked previously for the not for profit childcare sector, is also warning that without Labor's promised pay increases in childcare and better workforce planning, the government is facing a severe workforce shortage in coming years.

 

WORKING MUMS

 

Tax disincentives mean 500,000 women are currently locked into working a three day week and if they try to work an extra day they can send their family finances backwards by up to $4,000 a year.

The problem occurs when increased childcare costs from the extra days worked interact with the income tax rates and the withdrawal of family payments.

Labor's promise to make childcare free for families earning up to $69,000 a year and provide big childcare subsidy increases for those earning up to $174,000 a year would have allowed more women to work extra days and keep more of their earnings.

 

Working mums face huge tax disincentives.
Working mums face huge tax disincentives.

The Coalition has not promised the same increases in childcare subsidies and family tax experts have calculated the work disincentive will only get worse under the Coalition's promised tax cuts.

Associate Professor Ben Phillips from the ANU has calculated working mums with children in childcare will see their effective marginal tax rates rise from 55.9 per cent to 57.1 per cent under the Coalition's tax cuts.

In good news for new mums, the Coalition will make government funded paid parental leave more flexible, allowing parents to take paid leave in flexible blocks of time.

Currently, parents must access the 18-weeks government funded parental leave in a single block paid at the minimum wage of $719 each week.

Under changes announced in the April budget, parents can take multiple smaller portions of leave or return to work on a part-time basis and get parental leave pay for the days they don't work each week.

 

ONE-OFF ENERGY SUPPLEMENT

Voters struggling with their power bills will get some help from a one-off energy supplement.

Social security income support recipients including those in Newstart, veterans pension and compensation recipients will receive a one off $75 energy supplement for singles, eligible couples will receive $125 ($62.50 each).

 

Voters struggling with their power bills will get some help from a one-off energy supplement.
Voters struggling with their power bills will get some help from a one-off energy supplement.

 

HEALTH

Further evidence our health system is straining greeted the new government this week with a further blowout in hospital waiting lists and further declines in private health fund coverage.

Waiting times for public hospital care are now at record levels of 41 days, up one day since last year but patients who need hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery are waiting over a year for treatment.

The re-elected Morrison Government will be under growing pressure to do more on health as soaring out of pocket costs of over $10,000 for private surgery force the privately insured back into the public hospital system.

Unlike Labor which promised over $5 billion in extra funding for hospitals and cancer patients and a 2 per cent cap on health fund premium rises the Coalition's health offerings in the election were more modest.

Toy libraries can apply for $30 million in grants for toy equipment.
Toy libraries can apply for $30 million in grants for toy equipment.

The Medicare freeze on standard GP visits ended last year but from this July, for the first time in five years, there will be small increases in Medicare rebates of between 60 cents and $2 for all other doctors visits and medical procedures.

From January 1 next year pensioners will need to fill 12 fewer prescriptions to qualify for free medicines under the PBS safety net saving up to $80 a year. General patients will need to fill 2 fewer scripts before they qualify for cheaper medicines under the subsidy scheme.

From next July, medical scans could become cheaper with the Government lifting Medicare rebates by $199 million to ease out of pocket bills.

Around 14,000 breast cancer patients will for the first time be eligible for Medicare rebates for MRI scans.

GPs will get paid to deal with patients aged over 70 on the telephone under a $448 million package.

There is a new Medicare rebate for heart health checks.

The government will issue licences for 53 new MRI licences including in Mount Druitt Hospital, Ipswich Hospital and Kalgoorlie.

AGED CARE

Elderly people who need transport and help from cleaners and carers to stay in their own home rather than move into a nursing home will get access to 10,000 new home care packages funded for older Australians.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

The government will deliver 80,000 new apprenticeships in areas of skills shortages including bakers, bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers over the next five years by repurposing money from the Skilling Australia Fund.

Young workers will get a $2,000 incentive to take up training and employers who take them on will receive $8,000 incentive payments under the scheme.

Youth unemployment in regional areas will be tackled through 10 "training hubs"focusing on training in industries that have a local skills shortages.

There will be a $93.7 million scholarship program for over 1,000 students a year to study in a regional university or TAFE.

Toy libraries and classrooms can apply for $30 million in grants for play equipment.

The government has budgeted $23.5 billion over a decade on schools plus an additional $4.6 billion for Catholic and independent schools under a new model based on parents' income, rather than their postcode.

If Bill Shorten had been elected, schools would have been given an extra $14 billion in funding over the next ten years.



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