Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government: Valuing Families

The Howard Government has allocated $3.6 billion to provide support for more Australians to make the move from welfare to work.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today said these measures, including more than $260 million towards childcare, would be of particular benefit to families and children.

“This Budget measure will reduce the number of children who grow up in families where they do not have a parent in work”, Senator Patterson said.

“More parents in employment will ensure better outcomes for children, in terms of a higher standard of living for the family through increased disposable income and secure retirement through contributions to superannuation. It will also lead to improved social connections, and enhanced emotional wellbeing of parents who are confident they are providing a good role model for their children.

“This package ensures more families will benefit from the sustained economic and employment growth generated by the policies of the Howard Government.

“Working parents and their children already benefit from the more flexible workplace arrangements and the increased practical support the Howard Government has provided to families managing their work and family responsibilities.

“The package of measures supporting parents to get into work includes over $266 million to provide more child care places and reduced child care fees for low income families. We have long recognised the essential role that child care plays in supporting working parents, especially sole parents.

“This will be complemented by increased access to employment, education and training services, including practical support to assist parents to return to the workforce as child carers.

“Our society relies on the skills and talents of parents every day, in their important child rearing responsibilities, and increasingly, their contribution to the economy.

“The Howard Government has put a priority on supporting families, especially low and middle income families with dependent children, through increased family assistance, early childhood programmes and support for stronger family relationships.

“This package of welfare reform measures provides practical support for parents, that will be of lasting benefit to families and their children, yet sensitive to their important parental responsibilities,” Senator Patterson said.