Daily News - Tuesday 29 April 2014
Empty days, lonely nights
Bettina Arndt, The Age
Across Australia, fathers are being told in mediation sessions or by lawyers that there's no hope of overnight contact with children under three years old.
At Family Relationship Centres (FRCs), where couples attend compulsory mediation prior to a Family Court appearance, any sharing of overnight care of infants and toddlers tends to be discouraged.
Childcare shortage a hurdle for paid parental leave
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The nation’s biggest childcare provider says mutual obligation provisions requiring women to return to work after taking money from Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme could fail because of the shortage of care places for babies and toddlers.
Good Start Learning chief executive Julia Davison said yesterday that in 2011, 24,000 mothers of children under two were unable to return to work because of an absence of suitable childcare.
Boost for Queensland rural financial counselling
Barnaby Joyce, media release
The Australian Government is further boosting its support for Queensland farmers today, announcing additional funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS).
... "I'm pleased to announce we have allocated additional grant funding to one of our Rural Financial Counselling service providers – Queensland South Western region.
Drought loans fail to rain down on farmers
Stefanie Balogh, The Australian ($)
The concessional loans at the heart of the federal government’s $320 million emergency drought package have not been offered to farmers yet, two months after the relief was announced.
Funding boost for income management
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The federal government’s controversial income management system that forces welfare recipients to spend payments on food, rent, clothing and other basics will receive a funding boost and a one-year extension in next month’s budget.
... Mr Andrews has previously argued the scheme should be considered for a broader rollout but only Ceduna will be added because of concerns about the implementation costs.
Work till you drop?
Peter Whiteford, Inside Story
At an annual cost of around $40 billion, the age pension is the federal government’s largest single social security program, and age pensioners account for around half of all Australians receiving social security benefits. So it’s not surprising that the speculation about cuts in welfare spending has focused on this payment, and specifically on the possibility that the qualifying could age rise to seventy and that future increases in pension rates might be linked to prices rather than wages.
Age pensioners targeted in three years: Abbott
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation
Age pensioners will be hit in three years time with slower increases and a crackdown on eligibility, Tony Abbott flagged tonight.
Tony Abbott's address to the Sydney Institute
Tony Abbott, media release
To keep our commitments, there will be no changes to the pension during this term of parliament but there should be changes to indexation arrangements and eligibility thresholds in three years’ time.
There are other social security benefits where indexation arrangements and eligibility thresholds could be adjusted now. Adjusting indexation slows the rate of increase and helps to ensure that a strong social safety net can be preserved for everyone’s future.
Families face losing welfare
Andrew Probyn, The west Australian
Tony Abbott has warned families on combined incomes of more than $100,000 face losing welfare payments in next month's Budget and instead dangled the prospect of tax cuts in four to five years.
Taxpayers will be slugged with a debt levy taking an extra $800 a year from someone earning $80,000.
One in five people in NSW earn $78,000 or more a year.
And Joe Hockey’s “sharing the pain’’ deficit levy will be tiered so that higher income earners will pay significantly more than other taxpayers.
The new tax to be imposed in the Treasurer’s first Budget on May 13, will be a levy on taxable income — similar to the Medicare surcharge.
Abbott’s debt levy a Labor-style snafu
The Daily Telegraph
There can be no greater criticism of the Abbott government’s move to introduce a debt levy than to say: This is exactly what the previous Labor government would have done.
The debt levy is straight out of Labor’s discredited and rejected economic playbook, right down to the inequitable way it targets those already paying the highest tax rate.
BCA - Temporary Levy Not the Way to Tackle Fiscal Deficit
Business Council of Australia, media relase
“A temporary levy to deal with Australia’s deficit, as speculated in today’s media, is not a solution to the fiscal challenge and could let governments off the hook on the structural steps needed to fix the budget properly,” Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.