One of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s signature policies, the Paid Parental Leave (PPL) scheme will undergo changes, with savings to be redirected into childcare programs.
Speaking on AM Radio this morning, Abbott said the policy would be discussed and deliberated over the summer, with official changes to be announced in coming months.
“It wont be the first time paid parental leave has been debated in the party room,” he said, adding that “as circumstances change you adjust your position but you fundamentally keep faith with the commitments you make to the public”.
The PM will consider a new means test and reduce the cap on the current maximum payout from $75,000 to $50,000 or even less, news.com.au reported.
Abbott first introduced the plan while in opposition in early 2010 but the policy looks very different now.
“When I first brought this scheme forward, the Labor Party was promising on stacks of bibles that we would be in surplus by now, and obviously we’re not,” Abbott said.
“It needs to be a holistic families package.
“My ministers and I will be working on this over the summer break so that we do have something in the first half of the year to bring forward.”
A Productivity Commission report, handed to the government in October, is said to be behind Abbott’s change of heart.
Amid suffering polls, the deferment and blocking of key policies, Senate woes and speculation of a cabinet reshuffle, Abbott’s competency and leadership abilities have been questioned but the PM says he’s still in charge, taking responsibility for any missteps.
“I’m leading the government. The buck stops with me,” Abbott said.
“I don’t say everything has been perfect and obviously there are things I would wish otherwise but… I think we’ve substantially delivered.”
The PM highlighted his government’s achievements of stopping the boats, getting rid of the carbon and mining taxes, signing three free trade agreements, roads projects that are underway and efforts to tackle budget repair.
In reference to the recently released Murray Inquiry, Abbott said he wanted to see stronger governance for financial institutions.
“It’s important that we have a level playing field; it’s important that we have proper competition and that’s what we want to see. We also want to see better, stronger governance with our financial institutions,” he said.
“I think it’s a useful report, it’s a stocktake of the sort we haven’t had for a couple of decades and that’s why I think it’s something that everyone should welcome.”
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