Government continues attack on families

Central Victorian families will be hit hard if the Abbott Government goes through with plans to freeze the income threshold of the Child Care Benefit.

The Child Care Benefit is a means-tested payment to low and middle income families to assist with the cost of child care, with 3,370 families in Bendigo, some earning as little as $42,000 a year, relying on the payment.

Historically, the Child Care Benefit income threshold rises with the cost of living. But the Government has introduced a Bill to stop this, meaning the gap between the cost of child care and Government assistance will grow.

The Education Department has confirmed over 500,000 low and middle-income families will see their child care assistance cut.

Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said this is an unprecedented attack on low and middle income families.

“No previous Government has ever moved to cut or freeze the Child Care Benefit.

“This is a direct hit to the central Victorian families who can least afford it, including many parents who would otherwise be forced to leave the workforce.

“I know from talking to local parents that out-of-pocket child care expenses can really hurt the family budget and may deter some women from returning to work.

“It brings the total child care cuts announced by the Abbott Government to more than $1 billion, including this $235 million cut to the Child Care benefit.”

Ms Chesters said Labor will fight this cut, but will need the support of cross-bench Senators, who will have the final say on this legislation.

“These cuts are imminent but not unstoppable – it is one of the few Budget measures the Parliament actually will get the opportunity to vote on.

“Now is the time for all central Victorians to join with us in taking a stand against these cuts, and let the cross-bench Senators know that our community does not support cuts to child care.”

To take a stand against Tony Abbott’s child care cuts, sign the petition here: www.alp.org.au/targetedchildcarecuts