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New poll mounts pressure for paid parental leave in Budget

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young has welcomed the results of a new poll on attitudes towards paid parental leave as yet more evidence of the mounting community support for such a scheme to be included in the next Federal Budget.

The Auspoll research released today - commissioned by the National Foundation for Australian Women, Unions NSW, Commission for Children and Young People, Catalyst Australia and the YWCA Australia - surveyed 1703 respondents aged between 18 and 64 years on their views on paid parental leave and tax.

“The take-home message for the Prime Minister from today’s poll is: Australians want a government-funded paid parental leave scheme,” said Senator Hanson-Young.

“Four out of five Australians – 82 per cent - would prefer the upcoming Federal Budget to fund parental leave rather than tax breaks for high income earners.

“There is strong support across all income brackets for funding parental leave over tax cuts, including 79 per cent of those with an annual household income over $80,000.

“Currently the Government is spending $3.5 billion annually on tax cuts to high income earners, yet crying poor when asked to fund a paid parental leave scheme.

“The Productivity Commission’s draft report on a paid parental leave scheme for Australia estimated that the net cost to Government would be covered by just over half a billion dollars per year.

“This poll clearly indicates that Australians are looking to the Government to provide a paid parental leave scheme as a matter of priority.”

Senator Hanson-Young pointed to particularly strong support for paid maternity leave in the 18- to 24-year-old and 25- to 34-year-old age brackets as evidence that those of childbearing years saw such paid leave as a priority.

“The Federal Government should be looking to support the future generations, and those who will bear and raise them,” she said.

“We know that paid parental leave is economically viable for Australia, and that there is mounting pressure in the community for it to be introduced.

“The Greens recommend Mr Rudd take his own advice and lead his government in ‘biting the bullet’ on paid parental leave, and introduce a government-funded scheme in next month’s Federal Budget.”

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