News National PM’s paid parental leave scheme ‘put on the shelf’

PM’s paid parental leave scheme ‘put on the shelf’

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It appears those counting on getting more money from the federal government’s promised paid parental leave (PPL) scheme while they take time off to have a baby might be waiting a bit longer.

Fairfax is reporting that Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s prized $5.5-billion scheme has been quietly put on the shelf.

Sources close to the government are now saying the scheme is unlikely to go before parliament this year.

It’s only a couple of months ago that Treasurer Joe Hockey described as “absurd” suggestions the policy would be put in the too hard basket because of internal unrest.

However, the difficulty the government is having in getting budget measures through the Senate has forced Mr Abbott to concede the policy belongs in the “too-hard basket” for now, Fairfax reported on Sunday.

One of the coalition’s most outspoken critics of the PPL, Senator Ian Macdonald, has welcomed the decision to delay.

“I’m pleased that Mr Abbott has listened to the overwhelming majority of Australians in deferring the scheme until the country can afford it,” he said.

The prime minister’s PPL “signature policy” would have given new mothers their full pay for six months capped at $50,000 and would have been partly funded by a levy of 1.5 per cent on big business.