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Federal budget support for low-income families and students welcomed

The Centre has welcomed support for low-income families announced in last night’s Commonwealth Government budget 2024-2025

The Centre has welcomed support for low-income families announced in last night’s Federal Government budget 2024-2025.

The cost-of-living tax relief will put more money in the pockets of Australians from the beginning of July, and the Centre’s CEO, Deb Tsorbaris, says this will go a long way toward supporting children and families through challenging times.

She says pre-budget announcements on HECS debt indexation and Prac Payments to support students during mandatory placements will alleviate some of the financial barriers to higher education.

“Our sector is excited to see Prac Payments included in this budget. This is a great education incentive for women, who have struggled in the past to support themselves and families during long periods of unpaid placements,” says Ms Tsorbaris.

“Women make up a significant portion of the education, nursing, and social work workforces, and this puts an end to ‘placement poverty’ and will encourage more people to pursue their passion to support vulnerable children and families with careers in the child and family services sector,” she said.

The budget also includes fee-free TAFE and Uni Ready Courses to support new pathways into pre-apprenticeship programs and higher education, which will create opportunities for groups of people who are traditionally under-represented in tertiary education.

The Centre welcomed the focus on women and family violence in the budget and the inclusion of funding to increase online safety for children and young people.

“A child’s worldview is shaped by the violence they see, hear, and experience each day in their homes and online. This becomes their norm, and parents face a huge battle in trying to monitor, unpack, and shape their understanding of the content they are exposed to,” she says.

The Australian Child Maltreatment Study (ACMS) data revealed 43.8 percent of 16–24-year-olds had been exposed to domestic violence, while across the entire population almost 30 percent of Australians reported exposure to domestic violence as a child.

“The best solution is working with kids to create generational change. We can’t end violence without understanding and responding to the profound impact family violence has on children’s perception and understanding of the world.”

Ms Tsorbaris says the ACMS data revealed shocking data on what life is like for young people growing up in Australia requires urgent action from the government and has called on a national ministerial portfolio for children to support the new National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner.

“We have a Minister for Children in Victoria and already we see the benefits of a portfolio focusing on the impact of policy on children and young people. It’s time we had a Minister for all children in Australia, to champion the rights and needs of children and represent their interests in all government policy development,” she says.

The Centre has also welcomed funding to expand existing community support for parents and caregivers to improve child outcomes will support some important programs in early years along with additional funding to support the inclusion of children with additional needs.

“Families face so many challenges, and providing support during those early years is important for a child’s development. We want to ensure that all children have access to quality early education and care and that low-income families are supported,” she says.

Ms Tsorbaris welcomed further investment in Child Care Subsidy Reform and says the Centre would continue its advocacy for a gradual shift toward a free, universal, high-quality early childhood education and care system.

More information

  • View the full 2024 Federal Budget announcement at www.budget.gov.au
  • View the Centre’s Federal Budget summary here

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