Mothers? budget backlash

TWEED mums have been left feeling blue after Tuesday night's federal budget that solo parents would be forced back into the workforce.

Many are concerned about a lack of child care places and the costs involved in keeping children in paid care.

Terranora mother Natalie Walker said childcare was costing up to $50 a day and "that when I was working nights, not a lot of money was left afterwards". Now she worries about the availability of part-time work that can fit in with school hours.

Desley Cantoni, of Currmbin, believes there is too much emphasis on two-income families and that many families cannot afford to have one parent stay at home.

Sole parents with children aged six and over will lose government benefits if they do not work a minimum of 15 hours a week.

The government has put aside money for 90,000 new places in child-care centres, most of those for before and after-school care.

However South Tweed mother Marie Welch thinks the government's plan is a good idea.

Ms Welch, who has previously been a single parent herself, said it was important for everyone to have an education and work.

"You need this to fall back on - when the government gets to where it's going there will be no benefits," she said.

"When I was a single parent, many years ago, I worked as well as being on the pension - to do the right thing.

"So I really think this is a good idea."

Pensioners and retirees say there is little in the budget for them and that issues such as the health system and prescription costs continue to worry them.

Ron Shepherd of Cabarita believes the government would have been better off spending the money fixing hospitals, rather than giving wholesale tax cuts.

Other parts of the budget have been well received.

The major element of the budget delivered by Treasurer Peter Costello was an across-the-board tax cuts, with the average wage earner in the Tweed expected to get an extra $6 a week.

Tweed business groups have welcomed the move, saying any extra money will stimulate the economy further.

And there has also been approval from industries suffering from the skills shortage, with extra funding planned for traineeships.

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