Catholic Welfare warns on maternity allowance

Catholic Welfare Australia has told a federal inquiry that the Federal Government's new $3000 lump-sum maternity allowance, which is paid to mothers, had led to incidents of domestic violence as men sought to get access to the payment.

Giving evidence before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human Services, the Catholic body urged the Government to make the payment in instalments.

The Committee began its inquiry into the work/family balance in Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reports that the inquiry heard that corporate Australia "does not take family-friendly policies seriously", forcing women managers with young children to work long hours and denying them promotion if they complain.

The inquiry, chaired by Liberal MP Bronwyn Bishop, will examine the disincentives to starting a family, and how to make it easier for parents "who wish so" to return to paid work.

Mrs Bishop indicated tax deductibility for childcare expenses was under consideration in order to clean up a black market in informal child care.

Catholic Welfare issued a statement late Monday alerting the media to its intention to tell the Inquiry of its concern for Australia's low skilled, casual and part-time employees, particularly in light of the Federal Government's Workforce Participation Agenda.

"We are particularly keen to see the Committee make specific recommendations regarding the poor families and low skilled, casual and part-time employees when it comes to returning to the paid workforce. They have specific pressures and obstacles confronting them and need solutions which are different to many other parents," said Executive Director Frank Quinlan.

"Catholic Welfare Australia is very focused on ensuring that the family is fostered, nurtured, protected and properly cared for in a political and social environment which appears to ascribe more value to the economy than to people," said Mr Quinlan.

"We also believe the Federal Government's evolving Workforce Participation Agenda will place increased pressure to take up paid employment on people providing valuable service to society through unpaid work," said Mr Quinlan.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to appear before the Committee and we look forward to being able to contribute to this very important Inquiry," he concluded.

Family-friendly policies no more than corporate lip service (Sydney Morning Herald 20/4/05)
Catholic Welfare Australia - life no BBQ for low income earners (Catholic Welfare Australia 19/4/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Welfare Australia

Evil flipside to baby bonus (Herald-Sun 20/4/05)
'Baby bonus fuelling domestic violence' (The Australian 20/4/05)

20 Apr 2005