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Greens : Caring for Parents and Kids

Paid parental leave, affordable childcare and measures to balance work and family commitments are the cornerstones of building a brighter and more prosperous future, the Greens said today.

Launching the Greens' Caring for Parents and Kids initiative in Adelaide today, Senator Rachel Siewert said, "Australians are increasingly expressing concern with the impacts that working longer hours are having on the wellbeing of their families."

The Australian Greens believe that this reflects emerging community values that place the quality of family and community life ahead of merely aspiring to earn and own more.

"Many working parents are finding it increasingly difficult to meet their family responsibilities in the new workplace environment. The Greens are calling for a number of measures that will provide necessary support for parents," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

Greens Senate candidate for SA and mother of seven-month-old Kora, Sarah Hanson-Young said, "It's time all Australian mums had access to paid parental leave – there is no excuse for not having a government funded scheme.

"Providing paid parental leave to care for newborn children makes good economic sense as well as being good social policy – yet we are one of only two nations in the OECD that do not support parents in this way."

The Greens are also calling for the implementation of measures to enable employees to achieve a sensible work/life balance – including a right to flexible working hours, the right to return to work part-time after parental leave and the regulation of antisocial working hours.

"Access to affordable childcare is a crucial issue facing families around Australia," continued Mrs Hanson-Young.

The Australian Greens believe community-based non-for-profit childcare centres provide the best option for affordable, accessible, quality childcare and should supported through increased government funding.

"The early years of a child's life are crucial to their future prospects. We have a duty to ensure necessary support for parents to provide the best care and education for our children at this time in their lives.

"Investing in healthy families creates healthy communities, ensuring a brighter future for all Australians," concluded Mrs Hanson-Young.

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