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Australian family life clearly under attack

VULNERABLE: Jenna Price says proposed tax and childcare cuts are a threat to the Australian family way of life.If companies and corporations and businesses, big and small, could vote in elections, I would understand the government’s desire to pander to them. If it was only the wealthy who voted, I could understand the government’s desire to appease the rich.
Nanjing Night Net

But what I now fail to understand is this: why don’t politicians pander to the ordinary people who vote for them in quite the same way they appease business, big and small; and the rich. Why is their approval so important to the government?

It’s become increasingly apparent that this particular government, first under Abbott and now under Turnbull, is continuing to attack Australian family life. All of us: straight, gay, well, sick, able-bodied or those with disabilities, with or without kids; born here or elsewhere.

This antagonism to all of us was clearly flagged in 2014, when failed treasurer Joe Hockey attempted to push through parliament $8.5 billion in cuts, including a limit of Family Tax Benefit Part B to families when their youngest child turns six. I’m guessing many partners of MPs are stay-at-home parents, so nice for them.

But last week, many of those attempted cuts reappeared and were passed straight through the House of Representatives.Who does that affect? Yep, about one and a half million families will lose their Family Tax Benefit Part A supplements, which is a cut of more than $700 per child every year. And 1.3 million families will lose their Family Tax Benefits, part B supplements, a cut of more than $350 per family every year. That, combined with the abolition of the School Kids Bonus, will mean single parents with two children in high school will lose nearly $5000 a year.

The good news is that, alongside the grasping nature of the ACCI’s prebudget submission, those who represent the rest of us can see what the real problems are.

The Australian Council of Social Services’s CEO Cassandra Goldie says it plainly:“Genuine tax reform is not about raising or lowering tax rates: it should begin by limiting unfair tax breaks and unintended loopholes that mainly benefit people who are on higher incomes and erode the tax base.”

Nick Hopwood, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, says it’s very important that we consider the kinds of services which support our most vulnerable. Many of those services, particularly around the area of early intervention for children, have no idea one year to the next whether they will be funded.

In ACOSS’s submission into the family payments structural reform inquiry, Goldie again pleads with those in the Senate to reject the changes to family payments. The submission says the expenditure component of the package, which boosts Part A by $5 a week, doesn’t take effect until July 2018.

It also goes on to point out that there has been no release of an analysis of the impacts of the proposed changes.“It is vital that there is clarity about how different families will be affected, particularly given that vulnerable children and their families will clearly be affected.”

But for me, the most telling yet depressing part of ACOSS’s prebudget submission is about childcare:“The relative generosity at the higher end has increased the overall costs of the (childcare)package, which the government is now seeking to pay for through cuts to family payments.”Yes, reward those families with incomes of more than $340,000 a year. They really need it, don’t they?

– Jenna Price is a Fairfax Media columnistThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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