In the fourth of our 7 Questions in 7 days, we asked our federal candidates: What will you do to address cost of living pressures such as housing affordability and childcare for low-income families?
Glenn Kolomeitz (ALP) Senate candidate for NSW
The government has consistently emphasised the need for flexible and affordable childcare arrangements and increased wages for childcare workers. To that end, Labor has pledged to roll out trials aimed at meeting the needs of shift and low-income workers. Further, Labor has committed to a $300m boost to the wages of childcare workers in the next two years with a view to long term increases in the sector.
Labor MPs and candidates have been working to develop housing affordability options at the local level. This real action augments Labor's commitment to increased supply and incentives to build.
John Flanagan, Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
Poverty in the Illawarra is worse than in most other areas (Illawarra Mercury page 5, 17 August 2013).
Children from single parent families are further disadvantaged.
They are also twice as likely to live in poverty as compared to children that live in intact families (ABS 1370.0).
Affordable housing and childcare are significant problems for single parent families in the Illawarra.
Equal parenting after divorce or separation is the only way.
This shifts the balance of the costs to both parents.
There are also bonuses. For example there is less of a need for childcare facilities as there is for single parent families.
Sharon Bird, Labor
Federal Labor has helped families and pensioners manage cost of living pressures.
We have provided the biggest increase in the age pension in a century.
We have helped 7150 families with back-to-school costs for over 12,000 in my electorate with the Schoolkids Bonus.
The Liberals will abolish this assistance.
We have increased the Child Care Rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent and provided the rebate up-front helping more than 5700 families.
We have delivered Paid Parental Leave benefiting nearly 2000 local families in Cunningham.
We have delivered record low interest rates lowering the cost of the average mortgage by up to $6000 each year.
We have cut income taxes with the average wage earner in Cunningham paying nearly $2000 a year less in tax than in 2007-08 and tripled the tax-free threshold to $18,200.
Helen Wilson, Greens
Low income individuals and families have more than cost of living pressures. Many are living well below the poverty line and can't afford basic necessities.
For a start the Greens would increase Newstart, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments. The supply of public and community housing is woeful, with up to 10 year waiting lists.
We'd make substantial investment in more social housing. Almost a third of Illawarra households are rented and the Greens would improve renters' rights.
Like other levels of education, child care is an essential service and should be funded as such. Greens MPs have called for an inquiry into this.
May King, Palmer United Party
Palmer United will make the first $10,000 on all home loans tax deductible - new loans and existing - and reduce income tax by 15 per cent, which will give families more disposable income.
As well, paid parental leave will also apply to mothers who choose to stay at home with their babies, at the rate of $25,000 for six months for everyone (regardless of their earnings), which is fair to everyone.
Mothers are Australia's most valuable resource; they are bringing up the future of the country.
A vote for Palmer United will turbo-charge the economy, and look after families as well as business.
It is the party with a heart. I understand the pressures of bringing up a family. I have three grown-up children. Been there, done that, and I know how hard things can be at the moment.
Wayne Hartman, Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)
There is already a childcare rebate for low income families. To address the cost of living, one would change the child support legislation so parents could afford to live in affordable housing.
Stephen Jones, Labor
Local families deserve secure, well-paid jobs. Labor got rid of the Coalition's WorkChoices and increased the tax-free threshold to $18,300, keeping more money in the pockets of low income earners.
Labor has invested $26 billion in affordable housing. Our National Rental Affordability Scheme has provided 205 new rentals in the Illawarra, $22 million to build 48 new social housing premises and repair 2435 more.
Childcare places are now 40 per cent higher than under the Coalition and we've increased the childcare rebate to 50 per cent, helping 5600 local families.
Shellharbour TAFE funding is creating more jobs and better availability, training locals to run their own daycare businesses.
Paul Matters, Independent
We support the right to direct our superannuation into our mortgage to use our super savings to purchase our own home.
This system flourishes in Singapore, which has the highest home ownership rates in the region.
We would reduce Australian interest rates to 1 per cent.
We would abolish Negative Gearing tax breaks and undertaking a major social housing construction program.
There would be real tax cuts for low and middle income families. We would be implementing the Henry Tax Review recommendation of combining the Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate, providing non-means tested assistance for all families and increased subsidy for low income families.
Brian Boulton, Democratic Labour Party
If elected; I will support the removal of the carbon tax which has negatively impacted our economy.
I would propose that first home buyers should be able to access their superannuation funds to fund up to 5 per cent of the total value of the home.
The DLP proposes the establishment of "Child Care Co-operatives" in which parents and carers are trained and certified to be "child carers" and "on duty one day in five" in exchange for childcare services.
Peter Moran, Greens
The Greens have a plan to build 125,000 new social housing units. This will not only provide housing for those who need it most, but will also place downward pressure on rents to make housing more affordable for everyone else.
In relation to childcare we have policies which would see all fusing subsidies paid directly to the childcare centre, so that parents only have to pay the gap, not pay it all and wait for money to be reimbursed.
We also propose a $200m fund to provide new and expanded not for profit and community childcare centres.
We support increases in wages for qualified childcare workers, to encourage them to stay in the sector.
All our policies are fully costed by the Parliamentary Budget Office so we know they are affordable and deliverable.
Ann Sudmalis, Liberal
The Master Builders Association says that the carbon tax adds around $3800 to the the cost of building the average family home. That's just one reason why we will abolish this bad tax.
Under Labor, childcare costs have soared by up to $22 a day while the childcare rebate has been reduced from $8179 per year to $7500.
More and more local families aren't working 9 to 5 and need childcare that is more affordable, and childcare that meets their working hours.
If elected, I'll work hard to ensure that every family in Gilmore has access to good, affordable childcare.