Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New insights into the lives of Australian households

Research released today, tracking the lives of over 8,000 Australians, sheds new light on their intentions to have children and how these intentions translate into actual births.

In the latest Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey Annual Report from the Melbourne Institute, those participants who could have children were asked in 2005 if they intended to have children in the future.

Three years later 17.6 per cent had had a child and, of these, 60 per cent wanted another child.

Of the 51.5 per cent of people who wanted children in 2005 and had not, 84 per cent indicated they still intended having children.

Since 2001, participants in HILDA have been regularly interviewed providing an important snapshot of the changes and challenges facing Australian families over almost a decade.

This data contributes to government decision making and was used by the Productivity Commission to help shape the development of Australia’s first paid parental scheme which begins on 1 January next year.

The Australian Government’s scheme is fair to families and fair to business.

This scheme will provide Australian parents with 18 weeks leave at the Federal Minimum wage to help them balance their work and family responsibilities and to boost productivity by supporting women to maintain their connection with the workforce.

It is in the best interests of children, giving parents and their new babies time to bond in those early weeks and months and develop the relationships and routines that will shape the development of their child. For many families, the decision for both parents to return early to work is driven by financial necessity.

From 1 January next year, parents will have the certainty and security of a government funded paid parental leave scheme to help them plan financially for the birth of their baby.

The Australian Government has provided $41.2 million to develop the HILDA survey and collection of the data up to Wave 8.

A further $31.4 million (excluding GST) is committed for Waves 9 to 12 which covers the period July 2008 to December 2014.