Yesterday Treasurer Wayne Swan shared details of the MYEFO – or Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The Treasurer has introduced further cuts in order to keep his promise of delivering a surplus. The proposed savings will be achieved by monthly company tax payments, reductions in the private health insurance rebate and cuts to the baby bonus for second and subsequent children.
Labor will need to negotiate with Independents in order to have its savings plans passed and to have any chance of achieving the promised surplus. There is no hope of support for these measures from the Opposition, with spokesperson Christopher Pyne declaring, “A Labor government will never deliver a surplus while Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard are at its head.”
Part of the proposed cuts to deliver a budget surplus is the reduction of the baby bonus. How serious a cut this is depends upon your news source. The Sydney Telegraph has said it will be ‘pared back’, while parent company, News Limited’s website tells us it is being ‘slashed’. Either way, it is being reduced from $5000 to $3000 for second and subsequent children and this is predicted to affect about 87,000 Australian families.
This blog is short and sharp.
Since when should you have to be paid to have a baby?
At the risk of harking back to the ‘old days’, that is exactly what I will do when I say having a child was a decision most of my generation took so seriously we actually saved for it!
Since the baby bonus was first introduced by former Treasurer, Peter Costello in 2004, many families have benefitted from these generous payments. This bonus makes some sense from the point of view that it is a helping hand for those wishing to have children – and may well encourage a new ‘baby boom’ to even up our population as it becomes older. But if young couples are depending upon a $5000 handout to have second or third or fourth children, then perhaps they need to think through whether having another baby is the smart thing to do. As most parents acknowledge, having children takes more time, money and commitment than they ever realised. So if a government handout is a major factor in your family planning, then perhaps it’s time to think again.
What do you think?