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Now more than ever the time to support working parents

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says that now more than ever, government-funded paid parental leave is a must to adequately support Australian families.

Senator Hanson-Young has responded to statements from Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan that recent global financial events could delay the introduction of such a paid parental leave scheme for Australia to beyond 2009.

“The Rudd Government, despite its track record of voting along with the Liberal Party against such a scheme, was encouragingly enthusiastic about being the Government to introduce paid parental leave when the Productivity Commission recommended it do so last week,” she said.

“Fast-forward a week, and rather than the priority paid parental leave was made out to be, it’s now been tossed into the too-hard basket.

“So is paid parental leave a priority for this Government, or is it not?”

Senator Hanson-Young said the global financial turmoil should not be used as an excuse to deprive Australian working parents of this important form of support.

“This Government, with its ‘working families’ mantra, should know how crucial such a scheme is in tougher financial times,” she said.

“Now is the time to bite the bullet on paid parental leave, because now more than ever we must be supporting working families.

“Rather than leaving parents to sacrifice their hard-earned long-service, personal and sick leave and struggle through childbearing and childrearing, we must support them and protect them from economic hardship as a result of their contribution to the community – that is, the birth or adoption of a child.

“Paid parental leave is long overdue in this country – it must be a priority for the next federal Budget.
“It’s time for the Government to come through with the goods.”

Contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

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