7 May 2012

$80m childcare boost to help beneficiaries find work

10:53 pm on 7 May 2012

The Government says it will invest an extra $80 million in childcare to help beneficiaries back into work and will fund contraception for young parents on benefits.

In a pre-Budget statement on Monday, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett provided detailed costings of the Government's major welfare changes.

These include work obligations for people on the Domestic Purposes Benefit and a new youth benefit.

Ms Bennett says there will be an upfront investment in the proposed welfare changes of $520 million over four years and the first phase will cost $287,000.

The minister says $80 million will go towards funding for early childhood education and the guaranteed childcare assistance payment. It will cover $6 an hour for childcare, removing one of the major barriers for getting single parents back into work.

Under new changes, single parents with children over the age of five will have to be available for part-time work, while single parents with children 14 years and over must be available for fulltime work.

Paula Bennett says the Government will also spend more than $55 million over four years on an extra 155 Work and Income staff.

It will spend $148 million on budgeting and parenting courses for youth, and incentivised payments for private providers who will be contracted to get youth beneficiaries into work or training.

The minister also announced that $1 million will be set aside to fund long-acting reversible contraception for young parents on benefits.

Ms Bennett says the Government has concerns about children being born into welfare-dependent families.

The Budget will be delivered on 24 May.