The Paid Parental Leave Scheme promised in the 2009-10 Budget is now very close to being enacted into law.  The NFAW (National Foundation for Australian Women) is delighted that the Government has been so committed, and that the Opposition has formally stated its intention to allow the enactment of the Government’s Paid Parental Leave Bill in the current Session, and so its administration to begin from 1 January 2011.

NFAW places on the record our appreciation of the support of many women’s organisations and their members in writing to Parliamentarians to urge passage of the Bill. In particular, NFAW were thanked for their work by Minister Jenny Macklin in her Second Reading Speech, and NFAW and BPW by Senator Claire Moore, Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

We have worked hard to clarify with all parliamentary parties that

(i) we see the Government’s Bill as a necessary first step in developing any national scheme,

(ii) we see immediate passage of the Bill as an essential, and

(iii) we look to enhancements over time.

No doubt there will still be some stimulating exchanges over the next few weeks as the Opposition and the Greens seek to make amendments, but passage of the Bill- with or without amendments, is now assured.

The NFAW is a politically non-aligned organisation, and we do not support any political party- our commitment is to ensuring the development of good policy for the benefit of Australian women.

We look forward to the legislation receiving Royal Assent- it will be an historic occasion.

Kate Gunn. President NFAW

26 May 2010.

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