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Families Need Six Months Paid Parental Leave

The Federal Government must seize the historic opportunity to deliver a proper six-month paid parental leave plan for Australian families, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens Spokesperson on the Status of Women, says the Government's decision not to take advantage of the consensus in favour of real reform on paid parental leave is disappointing.

"We hoped that the Government would see the light and move to improve its plan to provide Australian families with a quality parental leave scheme,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"This is not the time to be settling for a bare minimum scheme, we need to be working for the best outcome for families. That means six months plus super.

"We have tri-partisan support for paid parental leave - we can do better and we should do better than 18 weeks.

"Given the Government's new-found commitment to strengthening superannuation, there is no excuse for not including super entitlements in any new paid parental scheme.''

The Productivity Commission's inquiry into paid parental leave has already considered submissions from a range of business, community and union groups. Many of these groups put on the record their support for a six-month scheme.

Among the unions to support six months were the Community and Public Sector Union, the Australian Education Union, the Australian Nursing Federation, the Finance Sector Union of Australia, the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, the Independent Education Union and the National Tertiary Education Union.

Other organisations to say yes to six months included the National Foundation for Australian Women, Save the Children, the YWCA, the NSW Commission for Children and Young People, the World Health Organisation, the Public Health Association and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

"Six months was the right solution then, and it is the right solution now,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"It's not too late for the Government to show some political courage and act to bring in a quality system of paid parental leave.''

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