Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New research highlights increased costs of newborns

New research released today shows the pattern of spending by families when children are born changes significantly after the birth of the first child, and then again after the birth of a second and third child.

Using data on household income and spending, the new research looks at the specific costs of newborn children and how this changes with the arrival of each child.

The research found that with the first born, there’s a significant increase in spending on clothes. By the time baby number two arrives, the spending on new clothes falls dramatically – presumably in favour of hand me downs.

Spending on groceries remains stable for first, second or third born children, but after the second birth with time and sleep at a premium, families resort more to eating out and takeaways.

This research confirms that while babies bring great joy and excitement to families, they also put new pressures on the family budget at a time when many families drop from two incomes to one.

From 1 January 2011, families will have access to Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme.

The scheme provides up to 18 weeks’ government-funded parental leave pay at the Federal Minimum Wage (currently $570 per week) for eligible parents of children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2011.

This will give parents financial support to stay at home during those important early months to establish and nurture relationships and routines that will shape the development of their child.

It gives parents greater choice to make the work and family decisions that suit them best, when their baby is born.

Additional research, also released today, shows that when fathers are more involved in the care of their baby everyone benefits.

Fathers benefit from hands-on relationships with their children and mothers have more opportunity to participate equally in the economy.

The Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme recognises that fathers want to be more hands-on at home.

Our scheme gives parents the flexibility to transfer or share leave between them.

The Changes in household expenditure associated with the arrival of newborn children is available on the FaHCSIA website.