Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Families in Australia: 2008 report

A report released today by the Rudd Government on Australian families shows that women are having their children much later than 20 years ago.

The average age of mothers for all births in 2007 was 30.7 years compared with 27.7 years in 1987.

The Families in Australia: 2008 report delivers on the Rudd Government’s election commitment to produce an annual report providing a snapshot of how Australian families are faring.

Fertility rates have fallen for women in their twenties and increased for women aged 30 and over. Almost half the women over the age of 30 – 41 per cent -are first time mothers.

The report shows that Australian families are facing a range of pressures including balancing the budget and managing their work and family responsibilities.

Families need a responsive and targeted social and income support system that meets the changing realities for Australian working families.

This is why the Government has asked Treasury Secretary Ken Henry to examine reforming the tax and family payment systems.

Australia’s social support system must be geared to encourage workforce participation and to provide adequate support of life changes if we are to ride through the challenging economic times ahead.

Central to this Government’s family policy are child-centred measures to help parents balance work and family responsibilities.

The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine ways the Government can improve support to parents with newborn children.

The final report on paid parental leave will be delivered to the Government in February.

This week, around two million families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A, with 3.9 million children, will begin receiving lump sum payments of $1000 for each eligible child.

This decisive action is part of the Australian Government’s $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy to strengthen the Australian economy and support families during the global financial crisis.

The Rudd Government is committed to supporting all families. The Families in Australia: 2008 report will guide Government policy development.

For further information about the report or to access a copy, please visit the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website or call 1800 701 316.