Prime Minister Tony Abbott must increase childcare funding and improve the existing paid parental leave system after scrapping his signature paid parental leave policy.

ACTU President Ged Kearney said Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave policy was a house of cards waiting to fall.

“Tony Abbott knew all along that his paid parental leave policy would never get up,” said Ms Kearney.

“If the Coalition government is serious about increasing women’s participation in the workforce then there are a number of measures it can take.”

Australian Unions call on the government to:

  • Expand the existing paid parental leave scheme to 26 weeks and include superannuation;
  • Fund childcare to at least the OECD average of 0.7% of GDP;
  • Target funding to ensure the mostly female social, community and care workers receive decent wages and conditions;
  • Revoke the Fair Work Amendment Bill’s proposal to allow employers to ask women with caring responsibilities to trade off wages and conditions in return for family friendly hours;
  • Boost rather than water down the Workplace Gender Equality legislation and reporting.

In addition to scrapping his paid parental leave scheme, Tony Abbott also announced plans for a new small business and jobs policy at his National Press Club speech today.

Ms Kearney said it was disappointing to receive no details about the policy.

“The Coalition has so far failed to deliver any plan to create jobs – instead we have unemployment at 6.1% and youth unemployment at 13.1%.

“The Abbott Government cut $1 billion dollars from skills and training in the budget, has overseen the end of the auto manufacturing industry in Australia and is cutting thousands of public sector jobs.

“The Abbott government needs to provide a plan for job creation based on decent wages, conditions and investment in skills and training – so far all we have had are cuts and today’s announcement of a plan with no detail.”