It seems I’m not the only one who is mad at Peter Costello. I wholeheartedly agree with this letter which featured in The Age today (it happens to be written by a good friend of mine – it seems great minds think alike, if I do say so myself):
“An extra $250 a year will mean couples would have a third child. Yeah, right. Does the Treasurer have any idea how bad the situation is for young families? If the Treasurer wants families to have three children – or even two – I’ve got some suggestions:
- do something right now about unaffordable housing for young families at a range of levels – subsidies, long-term fixed-rate mortgages, take on negative gearing, etc;
- give both parents of young children the right to work part-time if they wish, so that both can stay in the workforce (and stay sane) without being forced to put their babies in child care;
- provide for 6 months maternity payment, to represent a living wage for mothers over the minimum time recommended for breastfeeding babies,
- provide for at least two years maternity leave, so that children are more ready for child care when their Mum (or Dad) has to return to work,
- support community-based, or non-profit, or workplace-based, or parent-administered, or anything other than dodgy commercial child care centres. Anyone who talks to a child care worker knows how big the difference is.
The early years are crucial to a child’s well-being and happiness, setting up patterns in the brain for resilience or troubles that can last a lifetime. Happy, supported, involved parents tend to make for happy kids.
My partner and I have one child, and would have more than two – if we could raise them together, in a loving, stable household, in a community with time for playgroups and other families, without the pressure of astronomical mortgages, without the instability of renting, and without fear of losing our jobs if we need to withdraw the kids from unsatisfactory care. These are simple ideas, but none exist within our economy, and I hold the Treasurer responsible.
The Government loves to crow and beat its chest about the importance of “Families” and of the “Early Years”, but I see no evidence that they really care about young families at all. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is, Mr Costello, and stop making our kids into commodities.”
Three cheers from me!!!