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Catholic Welfare says working mums' victory ignores those who choose to stay at home

Catholic Welfare Australia has said yesterday's release of the paper on Paid Maternity Leave provides a good opportunity to assess the actual assistance being provided to all families in Australia.

The Paid Maternity Leave discussion paper, titled A Time to Value, was released by Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward on behalf of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Catholic Welfare's national director Toby O'Connor commended Ms Goward on the release of the paper, pointing out that the scheme "clearly articulates the need for more financial support for women on the birth of their new child" and that the Federal Government "should be responsible for providing this support".

"The release of today's paper provides a context for some stringent analysis of what is really being done to support the family as a foundational unit in society," he said. "Therefore although there is some intrinsic merit in the notion of paid maternity leave the complex agenda attached to any family or employment policy must be critiqued from a variety of perspectives."

While Mr O'Connor was pleased with Ms Goward's encouraging the Government to assess the adequacy of payments for those women who are not in paid work, he is concerned that the woman's status in the workforce would remain the core criterion for determining eligibility for the parenting payment.

He said: "Should a Government funded paid maternity leave scheme eventuate, we call on the Government to look at the benefits to the whole community by extending the assistance to mums who choose to stay at home rather than an entitlement that favours only those in paid employment."

Catholic Welfare Australia

A Time to Value (text of paper)
A Time to Value (media kit)
Goward's challenge: $213m to pay mothers (The Age) | Pru Goward: Balancing baby and the budget

12 Dec 2002